This week, polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafer plunged to RMB 52–57/kg and averaged RMB 53/kg. Few deals for polysilicon for multi-Si wafers have been clinched, as utilization rates are being reduced in the downstream segment and prices for polysilicon for multi-Si wafer are inconsistent.
For downstream producers, it entails high costs to procure polysilicon for multi-Si wafer alone, so they mostly include low-grade materials in their polysilicon purchases. Considering the current multi-Si wafer prices, the polysilicon price for multi-Si wafers could neutralize cash costs if it drops further to RMB 50/kg. Demand for polysilicon for multi-Si wafers remained stagnant, as inventories would be limited in the up- and downstream sectors and mid-efficiency products becomes increasingly popular.
This caused the polysilicon price for multi-Si wafers to spiral downward to a new historical low this week. Meanwhile, Tier-2 producers who prioritize polysilicon for multi-Si wafers have undergone equipment maintenance ahead of schedule in response to weak demand.
The high-priced polysilicon for mono-Si wafers dropped by RMB 1/kg. It now hovered at RMB 72–75/kg on the strength of a small year-end pull-in for products in the downstream segment. The overseas prices for polysilicon for mono-Si and multi-Si wafers—without being affected by small exchange-rate variations—decreased with their Chinese equivalents this week, averaging USD 8.4/kg and USD 6.7/kg, respectively.
Hit by weak demand, multi-Si wafer prices declined across the wafer segment this week to RMB 1.59–1.64/piece and to an average of RMB 1.62/piece. Tier-1 makers of multi-Si wafers working in strategic cooperation with vertically integrated producers have some demand for high-efficiency multi-Si wafers.
However, considering the current prices for multi-Si wafers and their corresponding polysilicon material, polysilicon producers without mega-tonne production capacity and multi-Si wafer producers are operating at a deficit. Most multi-Si production lines have taken to making mid-efficiency products, as end-market demand for mainstream multi-Si products is yet to pick up; some producers even churn out more mid-efficiency products than mainstream multi-Si products. Multi-Si wafer prices have sustained rapid decline recently and are trending downward every week. The wafers are frequently dealt at bargain prices in the market
Mono-Si wafer prices did not undergo much variation this week, due largely to stable market conditions, and remained consistent with their previous levels at RMB 2.95–3.06/piece. There are quite a few business inquiries about larger mono-Si wafers these days, with large and small-sized producers raising their production volume of G1 wafers in response to growing downstream demand. G1 wafers, whose market price was RMB 3.28–3.33/piece this week, are forecast to take a good share of the wafer market next year.
With cell prices having reached the break-even point for many producers, multi-Si cell prices sustained less decline in China, coming in at RMB 2.8–2.85/piece or RMB 0.61/W this week. The cells fetched USD 0.077–0.079/W overseas. How multi-Si cell prices will fare in the weeks ahead depends on how much price decrease polysilicon and wafers sustain.
Because of a rush to have some solar projects commissioned in China by the end of this year and an ongoing year-end pull-in by overseas markets such as the United States and Europe, vertically integrated makers have growing demand for mono-Si cells, which are running a bit low in supply accordingly.
This week, the Chinese price for mono PERC cells maintained its previous level at RMB 0.95/W, and its overseas equivalent also stayed at the same level as in the previous week. However, with Western demand expected to weaken for a while in mid or late December, whether the high popularity of mono PERC cells would last depends on how much new solar capacity in China is due installation until January next year.
Module prices have recently stabilized thanks to a year-end installation rush. Through an analysis of the solar projects allocated from recent auctions in China, multi-Si module prices have mostly come in at RMB 1.58–1.65/W, whereas mono PERC module prices have hovered at RMB 1.67–1.78/W.
In the year ahead, the dominance of 400 W high-efficiency modules in the market would exert a great pressure on module makers to adopt 158.75mm full-square wafers, half-cut + MBB cell layout, and efficiency-boosting materials for meeting market demand. So, the shipment volume of modules coupling with half-cut + MBB cell design is expected to climb on a quarterly basis next year.