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New round of polysilicon price hikes drive up prices in the midstream

April 21, 2021 PV InfoLink

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Polysilicon price

This week, polysilicon makers are mostly fulfilling previous orders, with very few sporadic orders being negotiated. Many polysilicon makers have not released price quotes; orders between major manufacturers will chiefly be placed next week, even though sporadic orders were already signed at RMB 140-145/kg, some even at RMB 150/kg. Against these backdrops, prices for mono-grade and multi-grade polysilicon stay where they were last week, awaiting price negotiations next week. It seems that polysilicon prices are likely to increase slightly next week, due to anticipations for severer polysilicon shortage in the second half of the year. 

Trader’s prices in the overseas markets rapidly rise, as polysilicon prices are expected to hike in the short term. Lately, the overseas markets saw strong demand, with trading prices surging to USD 19.5-20.2/kg and showing no sign of stopping. Multi-grade polysilicon orders are still being negotiated; therefore, prices will not increase evidently this week.

Wafer price

On April 15, Longi released its latest official pricings: G1 and M6 wafers saw RMB 0.25/piece of price increases, and, those with a thickness of 170um, were priced at RMB 3.90/piece, USD 0.53/piece and RMB 4.00/piece, USD 0.544/piece, respectively; M10 wafer prices rose by RMB 0.3/piece, to RMB 4.86/piece and USD 0.66/piece. Some transactions were made at prices slightly lower than Longi’s official pricings. As standard sizes are swiftly switching to 170um of thickness, PV InfoLink will adopt it for G1 and M6 spot price listing, starting from next week. 

With continual polysilicon price hikes and lower inventory pressures in the cell sector, cell prices have bounced back marginally, and are likely to increase slightly in response to high polysilicon costs.

Recently, as Indian demand recovered, multi-Si wafer prices have been soaring every week, in response to previous polysilicon price hikes. This week, trading prices sit at RMB 1.95-2.05/piece; prices overseas continue to go up.  

Cell price

This week, following wafer price adjustments in April, another round of negotiations between cell sellers and buyers have been initiated. Cell makers’ price quotes are RMB 0.02-0.04/W higher than last week’s average prices. Overall, average prices for M6 cells come in at RMB 0.87-0.89/W, with high price range sits at RMB 0.89-0.90/W and low price range falls at the RMB 0.85-0.86/W of orders signed previously. 

In response to polysilicon price hikes and G1 production line costs, G1 trading prices range higher this week, between RMB 0.91-0.96/W, averaging RMB 0.94-0.95/W. Afterwards, G1 cells will see rather gentle declines, as price increases continue for wafers.

Business of large cells still rely on OEM and dual distribution model at present; trading volumes are rather weak with low direct purchase amounts. M10 cell prices stayed unchanged at RMB 0.88-0.9/W as last week; G12 cells were traded at RMB 0.88-0.91/W. Further price increases are possible. Presently, cell makers’ price quotes for large cells sit at around RMB 0.92-0.93/W; further details depend on seller and buyer negotiations.

Affected by upstream price hikes, average prices for cells continued to surge, coming in at RMB 3.3-3.4/piece. High price range sees lower trading volumes, with prices sitting at RMB 3.5/piece. Module manufacturers can hardly take the RMB 3.4-3.5/piece of cell cost, considering their cost affordability. Multi-Si cell prices are projected to have reach the peak for the short term; price increases will begin to slow.

Module price

Recently, the National Energy Administration released the latest version of consultation paper. Though many details were amended, the big picture remained unchanged. In the second half of the year, China will continue to see strong domestic demand. By then, as end user demand recovers, polysilicon shortage may intensify. Module makers hold conservative attitudes towards prices in the second half of the year amid unpredictable polysilicon price peaks. Overall prices in Q3 will hardly see signs of evident decrease.

The significant slump in glass prices has brought module sector RMB 0.04-0.05/W of cost reduction. In the Chinese market, a few orders see RMB 0.01-0.02/W of decrease. However, profits squeezed from the glass sector has been eroded by this round of polysilicon and wafer price hikes. 

Polysilicon prices kept soaring amid the low season, overshadowing the costs of module manufacturers in the second half of the year. For now, module price quotes of the year remained stable. Modules with a power output exceeding 500 W were mostly traded at RMB 1.68-1.72/W in the recent term. 

With Indian demand recovering and fewer multi-Si suppliers, the increasing polysilicon costs have been rapidly reflected in multi-Si wafer and cell prices. In the meantime, module prices also rose marginally in response to the higher costs, having been traded at RMB 1.45-1.5/W.

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