Large format module prices reaching 166mm level amid active promotional campaigns
January 13, 2021 PV InfoLink
Prices for mono-grade polysilicon rose by RMB 1/kg from last week in China, with the trading prices ranging from RMB 83-87/kg and averaging RMB 84/kg. This month Tier-1 polysilicon producers are fully booked, and most of them have low inventory because wafer makers are stocking up ahead of the Lunar New Year, leaving them no extra polysilicon to sell. Therefore, some polysilicon producers stop offering quotes or maintain high prices.
Since mid-December last year, polysilicon producers have been raising prices, with a few orders signing at RMB 85-90/kg. At present, there’s a gap between the prices quoted by polysilicon makers and the prices expected by buyers, and so the price negotiation will last for a while. The degree of price increase depends on the negotiation result between Tier-1 manufacturers.
Multi-grade polysilicon prices remain constant this week, with the trading price sitting at RMB 53-56/kg and averaging RMB 54/kg. DL Silicon, which focuses on multi-grade polysilicon business, has resumed production at the beginning of January after completed equipment maintenance.
In non-China markets, trading is less active this week following signing of orders in batches last week. Polysilicon prices remain stable, with mono- and multi-grade polysilicon traded at USD 10.4-10.7/kg and USD 6.6-7.0/kg, respectively.
Mono-Si wafer prices remain pretty much the same this week, with the trading price staying at a high level. Since supplies of G1 (158.75mm) wafers are running low now, some mono-Si wafer manufacturers are said to switch to produce G1 wafers mainly now. This may help ease the shortage in Q1. As prices for M6 (166mm) cells have been falling for several week, some cell makers may lower utilization rates in response to the Lunar New Year holiday and limitation on energy consumption. This will put pressure on the high-priced mono-Si wafers. Having said that, wafer makers’ inventory level is healthy and mono-grade polysilicon prices seem likely to remain stable, mono-Si wafer prices are predicted to remain stable until the end of the month. This week, prices for G1 and M6 wafers sat at RMB 3.11-3.14/piece and RMB 3.2-3.24/piece, respectively, while M10 and G12 wafers stood at RMB 3.87-3.9/piece and RMB 5.48/piece. Prices in foreign markets vary in accordance to exchange rate fluctuations: G1 and M6 wafers are respectively priced at USD 0.425-.429/piece and USD 0.438-0.442/piece; M10 and G12 wafers are priced at USD 0.527-0.531/piece and USD 0.746/piece.
Although multi-grade polysilicon prices rose marginally in China, multi-Si wafer prices remain stable this week as cell makers do not accept price increases. So, the trading price sat at RMB 1.15-1.49/piece. The average price of multi-Si wafers declined slightly in overseas markets, with the trading prices ranging from USD 0.162-0.203/piece. Following shortage across the supply chain, disrupted logistics and staff shortage caused by the pandemic, the situation of PV market remains unclear in the COVID-battered India. Moreover, demand for multi products continue to shrink amid growing dominance of mono products. Overall, with multi-Si cell and wafer makers withdrawing from the market one after another, multi-Si wafer prices will not change dramatically in the short term.
Many manufacturers are biding their time amid price decreases in cells. This week saw slight increase in the trading volume. G1 cell prices stayed at RMB 0.9-0.91/W. In the face of declining M6 cell prices, some cell makers switched to produce G1 cells, stabilizing the supply of such cells. The low-priced cells were traded at a slightly higher price this week, and it’s expected that prices will start to decline slowly after the Lunar New Year holiday.
Prices for M6 cells continue to decline, although the downward trend has slowed this week, falling by around RMB 0.02-0.05/W. Currently, orders were mostly signed at RMB 0.84-0.88/W, with the price gap between Tier-1 and Tier-2 manufacturers widening. Prices of Tier-1 manufacturers declined to RMB 0.88-0.9/W, while that of Tier-2 and Tier-3 makers undersold cells at RMB 0.8-0.83/W. Impacted by exchange rates and the price downward trend, foreign prices of M6 cells also fell marginally in the USD term this week.
Manufacturers are actively advocating M10 and G12 cells, bringing down the average prices of M10 cells to RMB 0.9-0.92/W and G12 cells to RMB 0.93/W this week. Given the large cell format is still in the early stage of development, it’s not easy to acquire large wafers, and so most manufacturers’ large format cell business relies on OEM and dual distribution model. In addition, January saw more buyers of M10 cells, and the amount purchased just began to grow. Therefore, prices will not decline dramatically this month.
Demand for multi-Si cells remain low, with prices staying at RMB 2.4-2.5/W this week. There’s not much room for multi-Si cells to decline further, and the prices are subject to wafer price movement.
Module prices stay at RMB 1.62-1.68/W and USD 0-21-0.225/W this month due to deferred demand from last year and high module bill of material prices amid stocking up ahead of the Lunar New Year. Foreign spot prices also stay high because of a weaker dollar and delivery problem. New orders of 166mm-modules are signed at USD 0.22-0.23/W.
In terms of large format modules, the real production of modules based on M10 or G12 wafers continue to grow. With last year’s orders having been fulfilled, manufacturers began to negotiate new orders, which saw prices for large format modules to be delivered in the first half of this year coming closer to the level of 166mm-modules, ranging from RMB 1.66-1.7/W and USD 0.22-0.228/W depending on the project size and lead time.
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