Having clinched deals on polysilicon for mono-Si wafers for July, top-tier producers in China are in the mist of executing contracts. Only a handful of new contracts were signed this week, with a few reached at a market price up by RMB 1–2/kg or more compared to the previous week. This week, polysilicon prices for mono-Si wafers went up RMB 1/kg at the high-priced end, came in at RMB 59–62/kg, and averaged RMB 60/kg. Polysilicon supply is running short compared to the previous weeks because most producers’ stocks are low and face demand from mono-Si wafer makers, which are bringing online new production lines, and four of the polysilicon producers are running at diminished capacity to maintain production equipment this month.
Therefore, polysilicon producers are keen to raise their prices. Polysilicon prices for mono-Si wafers will continue to climb for a short period of time. The trend in the prices will become more certain late in July, when Tier-1 makers will start to negotiate orders for the upcoming month.
Polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers trended upward this week, reaching RMB 34–36/kg in the market and RMB 35/kg on average. The prices have been on the increase over the past several weeks since there are increasingly fewer production of polysilicon for multi-Si wafers and multi demand remains stable. Overseas polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers rose by USD 0.2/kg this week—due to the increase in their Chinese equivalents—to USD 4.7–5.2/kg. Over the same week, overseas polysilicon prices for mono-Si wafers stayed at USD 6.7–6.9/kg and may pick up in the near future.
Mono-Si wafer prices remained constant this week at RMB 2.26–2.42/piece for G1 and RMB 2.42–2.51/piece for M6 format; USD 0.297–0.306/piece for G1 and USD 0.312–0.317/piece for M6. As demand for high power modules based on larger wafers is growing, most mono-Si wafer makers are producing more and more of M6 wafers, and M6 wafers sell better than G1 ones. M6 has become the mainstream mono-Si wafer format alongside G1 since the second half of this year.
As polysilicon prices for multi-Si wafers has increased constantly, multi-Si wafer prices climbed across the board this week to RMB 1.1–1.17/piece in the market and RMB 1.15/piece on average, although their increase was smaller than that of polysilicon prices. While India, a major market for multi products, relaxed its lockdown measures following the June 30 installation boom, its growing tension with China has led to gridlock in negotiations between upstream and downstream producers, dragging down goods delivery.
Meanwhile, multi-Si wafer prices will not improve much in the near future despite the price increases in the polysilicon sector, as multi-Si cell prices are struggling to pick up these days and even starting to trend downward. The price gap between high-efficiency and mid-efficiency multi products is around RMB 0.1/piece because high-efficiency ones are in low demand and most producers focus on making mid-efficiency ones.
The average mono-Si cell price remained stable this week at RMB 0.8–0.81/W for G1 and RMB 0.8–0.82/W for M6 as there is a high volume of orders placed for July and August and module producers are jostling to secure such cells. Low-priced mono-Si cells have seen marginal price increases, but across the cell sector, there would hardly be any price increase as module prices had been declining. So, cell prices will remain constant for a short period of time.
Since module makers started to raise the power output of their products in the second half of this year, many new PV projects in China have adopted M6-based modules and some of the systems use 400W+ modules assembled with G1-sized cells. Therefore, there is a high volume of orders placed for M6- and G1-based modules. Yet, many production lines are still shifting from G1 to M6 format, and the producers will have to take some time to adapt after the shift is completed. Thus, the supply of M6 products falls short of demand. On the G1 side, high-efficiency types are running relatively low in supply. So, shortage will hit the cell sector during July–August, and cell prices will decline steadily when existing production lines completed shifting to M6 and new ones are brought online.
The M2 cell price hovered at RMB 0.82–0.83/W on average this week. It will start to decline since demand for such cell for August is starting to shrink as the June 30 installation boom is winding down.
Multi-Si cell prices fell this week, coming close to RMB 2.2/piece on average. Hit by module makers’ downward price pressure, they can hardly rebound and outsourcing costs have started to drop. So, multi-Si cell prices will not fare well. With multi-Si wafer prices having climbed this week, multi-Si cell makers are approaching their break-even points, and some of them have mulled cutting production and shut down production lines prematurely.
As demand looks set to be strong in the second half of this year, there have been increasingly fewer downward-trending price quotes for modules. Price quotes for modules are no longer offered at record-low levels, whether in China or abroad. Moreover, mono PERC module prices have become increasingly stable—a trend that can be seen in the respective tenders for module procurement launched by China’s state-owned utility firms State Power Investment Corporation and China Three Gorges New Energy. The mainstream price for 440–445 W modules stays at RMB 1.4–1.45/W.
High-power modules will be running somewhat short in supply until the sheer amount of new production capacity for modules is all in place. Moreover, as bottlenecks in production capacity for M6 cells and POE encapsulants are affecting the volume of modules produced to some extent, there has been talk over raising module prices.
Even with all the buzz about price increase, mono PERC prices remain almost stable given that substantial production capacity to expand and most module makers would rather ensure long-term partnership.