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Business | April 30, 2012

Solar prices remain low despite Italian market demand recovery

According to EnergyTrend, German market demand is relatively weak. On the Italian market, however, demand momentum is recovering as the government is planning for further subsidy cuts in 2H12.
TrendForce surveys indicate, there are manufacturers currently receiving orders from the Italian market, but the majority are short-term orders.

Industry vendors indicate, orders from the Italian market started coming in last week. Initially vendors assumed it was a one-time rush, but they continued to receive orders after the first wave. While order volume was not especially high, the influx is an indication that demand on the Italian market will see a turnaround in Q2. Solar inverters are seeing the same phenomenon as solar modules. Inverter demand is based on system installation demand, thus more accurately reflecting actual market status.

According to interviews with industry players by Trendforce, solar inverter manufacturers have indeed received orders from the Italian market, but shipment due dates are all set before June, an indication that Italian clients believe further subsidy cuts will in fact be implemented in the second half of the year. Therefore, there may be a rush of installations on the Italian market in Q2.

Although order demand has recovered somewhat and market price has stabilized, quotes continue to hover around the low end of the spectrum. Related vendors indicate, at present the industry is engaging in strict cost control – any excess materials are being cleared to avoid price decline due to surplus inventory.

According to TrendForce surveys, while some manufacturers remain firm on price quotes, there is little demand at such price points. Furthermore, the aforementioned vendors are aggressively selling excess inventory on the spot market – thus, while the spot market has stabilized, prices remain low, with no sign of rebound.

As for this week’s spot prices, although orders are picking up, manufacturers’ contract materials are enough to order demand for the time being – thus, spot market demand remained weak. In consideration of inventory stocking costs, aside from polysilicon price, which decreased slightly, this week’s spot prices did not fluctuate much.

TrendForce believes the current market momentum and supply and demand status are unable to induce a price reversal – thus Q2 spot prices will remain low. This week’s average polysilicon price fell to US$23.68/kg, a 0.25% decrease. Silicon wafer, solar cell, solar module prices were the same as last week. Due to price pressure, this week’s thin film figures decreased to US$0.751/Watt, a decline of 1.31%.

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