Solar Market Differentiation Results in Price Increase of High Efficiency Products

Benefiting from the increasing product popularity in the spot market, downstream manufacturers have started to raise the price.

The PV Expo exhibition held in Tokyo, Japan ended last week and both the number of visitors and the performance of exhibitors have suggested a great future for the development of global PV market in 2013. However, according to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, market differentiation is gradually formed, and facing such change, industries are adopting more flexible strategies.

By interviewing related industries, we discovered that most industries at the exhibition believe that the Japanese market has its own uniqueness that differs from other markets. As shown at the exhibition, PID Free has become the common emphasis among various industries. According to related cell manufacturers, although PID Free was first proposed by European countries, it has been most greatly developed in the Japanese market. Certified industries such as TUV and PI-Berlin have frequently introduced themselves to related industries at the exhibition, hoping that their specifications could be first certified by the Japanese market. On the other hand, anti- snow load is also common among the industries at the exhibition; due to the recent extreme weather in northern Japan and Hokkaido, this has impressed the local customers even more. Therefore, common product specifications are more adopted by the Japanese market, and additional specifications in accordance with local market demands are also gradually increasing. Joint projects of related industries and Japanese local industries are increasing in order to be more suited for the market and more able to meet customer demands. By cooperating with each other, industries are therefore able to optimize limited resources and perform the best business strategies.

Benefiting from the increasing product popularity in the spot market, downstream manufacturers have started to raise the price. In the Chinese market, polysilicon price has increased to 143.5RMB/kg; the average price of multi-silicon wafers has been boosted up to 6.18RMB/piece; the average price of mono-silicon wafers are maintained at 8.1MB/piece; cell price is oscillating between 2.5RMB-3.2RMB; module price remained flat. As for USD quotes, oversupply has resulted in prices lower than costs. Several polysilicon manufacturers have begun to cut production in order to reduce deficit; follow-up effects are yet to be seen, so this week's spot price remained flat. Major silicon wafer manufacturers have reached full production and high efficiency demands are continuing to increase, with this week's average price boosted up to 0.887USD/piece, a 1.95% increase; mono-silicon wafer price is still rising, with this week's average price up to 1.203USD/piece, a 0.59% increase. However, industries also indicated that downstream customers are already having complaints on the increased price, thus whether the price will continue to rise depends on the developments in the terminal market. On the other hand, market demands for cells still exist, and manufacturers have generally increased the price; high efficiency cell price is quoted at over 0.4USD/Watt, this week's average price is boosted up to 0.378USD/Watt, showing a 4.13% increase. Module price has simultaneously increased, with this week's average price up to 0.672USD/Watt, a 1.97% increase.

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