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Cell prices set to rise as upstream prices rally

January 12, 2022 PV InfoLink

CN TW EN

Polysilicon

Price declines slowed for polysilicon. As the Lunar New Year looms, demand slightly picked up, whilst downstream sectors started stockpiling, pushing up polysilicon demand per month over the preceding one. 

High-price range of polysilicon price quotes rebounded this week, coming in at RMB 232-240/kg. As purchase volumes of major buyers increased and concentrated, low-price range narrowed significantly. Mainstream spot prices sustained at RMB 230/kg for the time being but may go up if demand continued to escalate. Premiums are likely, as delivery time spans to mid-February for orders of major polysilicon manufacturers in China, and even beyond for overseas orders.

To date, the downward price trend of polysilicon is losing momentum. There will not be marked price declines or increases in supply before and after the Lunar New Year holidays. 

Wafer

Mono-Si wafer inventory rapidly dropped this week, whilst demand from the cell sector recovered. Additionally, earthquake hitting Qinghai and other regions on January 8 had disastrous impacts on ingot facilities. Mono-Si wafer supply is yet to be restored; such a supply-demand relationship has been reflected in price trend of mono-Si wafers. 

Mainstream trading prices for 182mm mono-Si wafers with 165um of thickness continued to rise, ranging from RMB 5.85 to RMB 5.9/piece. Price quotes for wafers of each format varied a lot this week, with upward momentums to sundry extents. High-price range of price quotes for the 182mm/165um format climbed to RMB 6.1-6.15/piece, and RMB 7.9-8.1/piece for the 210mm/165um format. Price quotes for 165mm,165um-thick wafers stood on RMB 5.1/piece in the high-price range. Whether downstream sectors will accept such a price level remains to be heeded.

Production volume of multi-Si wafers kept shrinking. Prices rallied in face of relatively steady demand. In China, the 157mm format dominate multi-Si wafer demand, whilst overseas markets opt for 158.75mm multi-Si wafers. 

Cell

Given marginal, earthquake-inducing wafer price hikes and increased demand from the cell sector, prices for M6, M10, and G12 cells are poised to rise, expectedly by RMB 0.01-0.02/W. Still, prices showed no changes by far. 

Prices for M6 cells sustained at RMB 1.05/W, whilst M10 cells were delivered at RMB 1.07-1.08/W this week. G12 cells made from 160um and 170um wafers each saw prices lingering at RMB 1.035/W and RMB 1.05/W, respectively. Cell prices may not see significant increases before the Lunar New Year, as RMB 1.08/W of prices already put off purchases from module makers.

Prices for multi-Si cells stepped upwardly to RMB 3.5-3.55/piece and USD 0.49-0.5/piece as wafer prices mounted. 

Module

In January, delivering prices mostly sustained at where they were for previous orders. Chinese Tier-1 module makers and their Tier-2 counterparts each delivered orders for 166mm glass-backsheet modules at RMB 1.8-1.85/W and RMB 1.79-1.81/W, and RMB 1.85-1.88/W, RMB 1.8-1.82/W for glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W. Subject to price hikes in the upstream, module prices will not see much of change in January and February.

Prices stabilized in overseas markets. European and Indian demand increased for the first quarter. Prices for glass-backsheet modules rated beyond 500 W came in at USD 0.275 for January by far. Orders are expected to be signed at slightly lower prices of USD 0.26-0.27/W in February and March.

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