Electronics Production | June 25, 2012

Solar wafer and cell prices remain on slight uptrend

According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, affected by economic instability in the eurozone, some European power plant investments have not progressed on schedule.
Furthermore, Q3 order expectations were initially high, but prospects have changed after the conclusion of the Intersolar Europe exhibition.

Although there have not been significant alterations to orders with Taiwanese manufacturers, and suppliers indicate all capacity is booked at the moment, whether orders will ship as scheduled is dependent on the market status in Q3.

Regardless, some manufacturers indicate order volume fell below expectation, and the Q3 outlook remains uncertain. Downstream module prices continue to fluctuate, but wafer and solar cell prices remain on a slight uptrend, although the increase is slowing. It remains to be seen whether the fluctuations will continue in the short term.

In other news, the future development of the Asia PV market was a highlight of the recently concluded Intersolar Europe exhibition. With government support, a clear picture has emerged regarding the future of the Chinese and Japanese PV markets – prospects for the solar markets in Southeast Asia and India, on the other hand, are still uncertain.

Both upstream and downstream vendors are seeking opportunities for cooperation, none more proactively than Chinese manufacturers. However, there remains a marked difference between upstream and downstream makers. Upstream suppliers continue to face severe competition, and manufacturers indicate that only those able to survive this round of competition will live to see brighter days in the PV industry.

As for this week’s price trends, figures were not as expected despite the increase in European orders. TrendForce believes this is due to worldwide markets continuing to monitor European capital market developments, and has caused the delay in power plant investments, in turn weakening demand.

Furthermore, wafer and solar cell prices will continue to recover in the short term, but improving efficiency remains the key to price increases. Looking further ahead, however, the industry will remain in a state of oversupply, and manufacturers will still face pressure to lower prices as the industry continues to see subsidy cuts.

This week’s polysilicon prices mostly fell within the US$20-22/kg range, while average price fell to US$21.415/kg, representing a 0.61% decrease. As for silicon wafers, due to both sufficient demand and the impact from the U.S. anti-dumping and anti-countervailing rulings, multi-Si wafer price continued on a slight uptrend, with an average of US$1.071/piece, an increase of 0.47%.

Mono-Si wafer transactions were concentrated in the European market – affected by the euro exchange rate, average price dropped to US$1.51/piece, a decline of 0.26%. Solar cells continued to benefit from the peak season and rush orders – Taiwanese prices rose steadily, while Chinese prices have stabilized. This week’s average solar cell price increased 0.87% to US$0.466/Watt. Module price climbed slightly as well, arriving at US$0.747/Watt, a 0.13% increase. However, TrendForce believes there will not be a significant rebound in the short term, and module price will remain low.
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