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Module price competition intensifies as capacity ramps continue

June 24, 2020 PV InfoLink

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Polysilicon

Polysilicon prices for mono-Si wafer stayed flat this week. The trading price of some producers increased marginally by less than RMB 1/kg, sitting at around RMB 58-60/kg and RMB 59/kg for average. Overall, polysilicon manufacturers are attempting to raise price for July orders, but they are biding their time as mono-Si wafer prices are expected to decline and some manufacturers are still filling June orders. At present, some downstream manufacturers are conservative about price increase. Moreover, inventories overall are maintained at a certain level and supply will become stable as polysilicon producers that are under maintenance program are gradually resuming operation, polysilicon price for mono-Si wafer are therefore projected to rise marginally in July. However, the real market price depends on the acceptance of downstream segments. The price trend is expected to become clear after the Dragon Boat Festival.

Demand for polysilicon for multi-Si wafer is picking up as end markets gradually recover. The downstream companies are purchasing slightly more polysilicon for multi-Si wafers than the previous weeks. Manufacturers that had been focusing on multi-grade polysilicon production began to produce more mono-grade polysilicon through modifying techniques recently. With supply of polysilicon for multi-Si wafer gradually decreasing, prices of such product are likely to rise slightly for the short term. This week, the trading price came in at RMB 28-30/kg and averaged at RMB 29/kg

Wafer

Mono-Si wafer prices stayed pretty much the same this week. Leading mono-Si wafer manufacturers have kept prices basically unchanged so far. For the Chinese market, G1 and M6 mono-Si wafers are respectively priced at RMB 2.36-2.52/piece and RMB 2.52-2.61/piece; for overseas markets, they are USD 0.307-0.316/piece and USD 0.322-0.327/piece, respectively. The mono-Si wafer manufacturer giants are going to release prices for next month, and their pricing will certainly affect polysilicon and wafer prices. With mono-Si wafer manufacturers operating at full capacity and new capacities coming online, mono-Si wafer prices are forecast to trend downward judging from the end-user demand level for mono-Si products.

For now, there’s not much room for further price decrease for multi-Si wafers. Considering the currently multi-Si capacity and gradual recovery of demand, multi-Si wafer prices have basically stabilized. The product was traded at RMB 1.05-1.15/piece this week and RMB 1.1/piece in average. As there’s still demand from Chinese vertically integrated companies and the India market is going to reopen on June 30, it’s expected that multi-Si wafer manufacturers will raise utilization capacity rates.

Cell

Mono-Si cell prices remained stable this week, with G1-sized cells averaged at RMB 0.79-0.8/W and M6-sized ones at RMB 0.8/W. Foreign prices also stayed stable at USD 0.1-0.102/W. Looking ahead, mono-Si cell prices will remain stable for the short term, as projects failing to commission on June 30 will be installing in July and so order volumes are high. After mid-July, G1-sized cell prices may slowly trend downward, while demand for M6-sized cells will be relatively high and prices stable. Consequently, the price gap between G1 and M6 will be widening in the second half of the year amid module competition on power output.

M2-sized cells also climbed a bit this week, with the average price coming in at RMB 0.81-0.82/W. The high point, priced at RMB 0.86/W, saw small volume of orders having been signed; some even offered a quote as high as RMB 0.87/W. As the June 30 installation rush is coming to an end soon, prices will stop rising, but slowly trend downward after the installation boom.

Prices for multi-Si cells will remain stable for the short term in China. The average price stood at RMB 2.25-2.3/W for the Chinese market this week. India, one of the largest multi-Si markets, is reportedly to undergo border dispute and harbor issue currently. Although no orders have been cancelled so far, the uncertainty cast a shadow on multi-Si demand, which has turned better earlier. Against this backdrop, prices may decline again.

Module

The latest progress of Hanwha Q Cells’ patent lawsuit will not cause impact on module prices. With June 30 installation rush coming to an end and module makers ramping up capacities to maintain their competitiveness, module prices will continue to spiral downwardly in Q3.

As some projects failed to meet the commissioning deadline, demand from the June 30 installation rush will continue into July. The overall utilization rate among Tier-1 module manufacturers is expected to remain high. However, how the market will fare in August depends on the situation of the pandemic around the world as well as Chinese demand level.

Solar manufacturers including Canadian Solar, Runergy, Solar Space, JA Solar, Jinko, Longi, and Lu’an signed up an intiative to call on the industry to adopt 182mm format as a new standard on June 24, bringing an end to the uncertainty over larger wafer size. As it will take a while for PV glass and major segments of the supply chain to expand capacity and modules to be certified, M6 is expected to remain the mainstream format until early 2021. The real production of 182mm-based modules will rise each quarter next year. The standardization of 182mm format is also expected to accelerate the shift from M6 to the next-generation format.

 

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