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New orders in May negotiated amid continual price hikes across supply chain

April 28, 2021 PV InfoLink

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Polysilicon price

This week, with the Labor’s Day Holiday looming, bulk orders for polysilicon have been signed successively. Mono-grade polysilicon orders between major manufacturers were signed at around RMB 148-155/kg. Some sporadic orders were even signed at prices higher than RMB 170/kg amid severer polysilicon shortage.

Polysilicon prices continue rising after reaching the peak despite mild end user demand, resulting in even more unpredictable price trends for the second half of the year. In the near term, price upward trend is expected to continue for mono-grade polysilicon prices, as manufacturers and traders continue buying and stockpiling, while polysilicon makers hoarding, and wafer makers bringing new capacities online. Multi-grade polysilicon, on the other hand, have not seen prices change as manufacturers are still fulfilling previously orders.

Prices in overseas markets is forecast to rise in the recent term, with trading prices fluctuating rapidly. Polysilicon saw robust demand in the overseas markets lately, with trading prices surging to USD 20-22/kg and showing no sign of stopping.

Wafer price

*Price quotes for 158.75 mm and 166 mm mono-Si wafers will be subject to the thickness of 170 um starting from this week, as per standard size transition in the market. 

Impacts of inventory pressure has not rippled to the wafer sector, despite low module utilization rates. Presently, demand for mono-Si and multi-Si wafers remain strong with an overall upward price trend. 

Zhonghuan released new official pricings for mono-Si wafers. Overall, prices continue to rise: G1 and M6 wafers with a thickness of 170um were priced at RMB 3.93 and 4.115/piece, respectively; prices for G12 wafers were raised to RMB 6.63/piece and USD 0.903/piece. Longi’s official pricing stayed where they were previously.

Multi-Si wafer prices continue increasing every week, as Indian demand recovers. This week, trading prices sit at RMB 1.95-2.05/piece; prices overseas continue to go up.

Cell price

On April 27, after leading wafer manufacturers’ price adjustments, cell makers also raised price quotes for M6 cells to RMB 0.92-0.93/W, at which only orders with medium and small-sized manufacturers and some rush orders were signed, while most orders are still in negotiation for the time being. This week, average prices sit at RMB 0.9-0.91/W. The market awaits the results of negotiations afterwards. 

This week, trading prices for G1 cells rose to RMB 0.93-0.97/W, averaging higher at RMB 0.95-0.96/W. As wafer price hikes continue and supply gradually decreases, cell prices are expected to hold ground until mid or late in May, and to see slower decline afterwards.

Business of large cells still rely on OEM and dual distribution model at present; trading volumes are rather weak with low direct purchase amounts and weak inventory draws. Prices saw marginal fluctuations in accordance with wafer price hikes this week, with M10 and G12 cells traded at RMB 0.89-0.91/W and RMB 0.9-0.92/W, respectively.

Average prices for multi-Si cells surged to RMB 3.5-3.7/piece, driven by upstream price hikes and a rather balanced supply-demand relationship. Given the module sector’s cost durability, multi-Si cell prices are estimated to have seen their peak in the recent term, and will be rising rather slowly afterwards.

Module price

On April 28, China General Nuclear Power Group and China Rich Energy Cooperation opened a 700 MW and a 5 GW of module group purchase bid, respectively. Presently, Tier-1 manufacturers keep price quotes above RMB 1.7/W for monofacial modules with a power output exceeding 500 W, while smaller manufacturers offer slightly lower price quotes, grabbing Tier-1 manufacturers’ share of orders. Having been raising pricings, module makers can hardly reflect the continual price hikes in polysilicon, wafer, and cell sectors; monofacial modules with a power output exceeding 500 W are chiefly priced at around RMB 1.7/W so far.

Presently, some domestic utility-scale projects have begun constructions, resulting in different utilizations among Tier-1 manufacturers. While some of them adjust utilization rates during the Labor Day Holiday to sustain profits, some will keep utilization rates high to retain shipment volumes.

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