*Available from January 2024:
1. Granular polysilicon prices (RMB)
2. Non-China polysilicon prices (USD)
3. TOPCon and HJT module prices (USD)
Starting January 2024, cell efficiency is adjusted to 24.5% and above for TOPCon cell prices.
The polysilicon sector presented a mixed picture in the first week of 2024, with manufacturers delivering previous orders while a few taking new orders. Current demand still suggests a smaller polysilicon procurement volume during the Lunar New Year holiday, being regular restocking for existing demand.
For China-made mono-grade polysilicon, prices continued to diverge, remaining at RMB 65-68/kg for n-type ingot production, whereas gradually declining to RMB 55-62/kg for those of lower quality or made from new during ramp-up. Rooms for future decreases are limited. For granular polysilicon, the supply is more concentrated and prices clearer, remaining at RMB 55-60/kg this week. The increase in supply has tapered off. Future additions are subject to the ramp-up progress of the new plant in Hohhot.
Polysilicon prices in dollar terms are based on prices at delivery of three non-China manufacturers. High-price sporadic orders are rarely factored in, given the scarcity of the resource and that most orders are long-term orders. Additionally, the spot price report excludes extreme prices due to special business causes and only reflects prices in a reasonable range.
Trading activities in the wafer market remained subdued in the first week of 2024. Future changes in the supply and demand for p-type wafers are worthy of attention. Despite waning demand resulting from PERC cell production cuts and shutdowns, ingot manufacturers increase the proportion of n-type ingot production in late 2023 to 60-70% in response to the growing demand for n-type products. As p-type wafer prices held steady at a relatively high level, traders began stockpiling.
P-type wafer price trends remained stable this week, with trading prices sitting at RMB 1.9-2/piece and RMB 3/piece for M10 and G12 wafers, respectively. For n-type wafers, trading prices declined slowly to RMB 2.1/piece and RMB 3.2/piece for M10 and G12 wafers, respectively. Both n-type and p-type G12 wafers no longer possess the previously superior price-performance ratio per watt.
Despite production cuts in January by most manufacturers, the reduction is insufficient to impact the overall price trend, leaving market sentiment sluggish. Significant rebounds in wafer prices are unlikely this year. Production output will be subject to manufacturers' utilization rates and production plans before the Lunar New Year holiday. After the holiday, changes in utilization rates will cause minor price fluctuations.
After a two-month loss in late 2023, cell prices stabilized at low points. P-type M10 cells regained supply-demand balance after extensive production cuts and shutdowns. As price declines gradually ceased, some manufacturers attempted to raise prices. Although it is still early to say cell prices have bottomed out, manufacturers are confident that an upward turn looms in the foreseeable future.
Trading prices for p-type M10 cells held steady at RMB 0.36-0.37/W. Few manufacturers took orders at RMB 0.36/W this Wednesday, with prices approaching RMB 0.37-0.38/W. P-type G12 cells traded at RMB 0.37/W, reinstating prices to the same level as M10 ones.
This week, mainstream trading prices for n-type M10 cells stabilized at RMB 0.47/W, with the price gap between TOPCon and PERC cells reaching RMB 0.1-0.11/W. G12 HJT cells, mostly for in-house use and less for external sales, saw prices come in at RMB 0.65-0.7/W for high-efficiency ones.
The production of cells of all formats is currently in a loss-making situation, prompting most manufacturers to extend production cuts. Some plan to reduce G12 cell production and slow down or suspend TOPCon capacity ramp-up, casting a gloomy atmosphere in the cell sector. Nevertheless, history teaches that cyclical surplus leads to technological breakthroughs and efficiency improvement. Manufacturers will continue to drive the industry forward after getting rid of outdated production lines.
Order intake for modules in January was relatively sluggish compared to the same month in previous years. Both Tier-1 and small and medium-sized manufacturers reduced production. Planned monthly production in China dropped by 14% to 40-41 GW from 47-48 GW in December. While February orders remain uncertain, module makers may cut production due to fewer work days and undetermined Lunar New Year holiday schedules.
Prices at delivery in January suggested continued module price declines. This week, module makers delivered orders for 182mm PERC modules at RMB 0.88-1.03/W. For monofacial modules based on 210mm PERC cells, module makers delivered at lower prices of RMB 0.89-1.03/W. Due to variable factors, PERC cell prices are poised to rise, indicating narrowing module price declines.
For TOPCon modules, prices dropped to RMB 0.88-1.05/W as module makers began delivering new orders. Module makers delivered new orders at RMB 0.9-0.95/W and previous orders at RMB 0.98-1.05/W, showing a wide difference. In non-China markets, prices came in at USD 0.12-0.13/W.
Due to cost factors and an undetermined market, HJT prices remain stagnant. So far, prices sit at RMB 1.2-1.25/W in China, while overseas order prices hover at USD 0.150-0.165/W.