Regional PV Module Prices Vary by as Much as $0.16 Per Watt

Module prices averaged around 72 cents per watt in the U.S. and 56 cents in Chile in Q4 2014.

U.S. prices for Chinese-produced Tier-1 modules were higher than those of any other market tracked in GTM Research's latest report, Global PV Pricing Outlook 2015.


Driven up on a year-over-year basis by the ongoing trade case against Chinese- and Taiwanese-produced modules, U.S. prices averaged around 72 cents per watt in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to just 56 cents per watt for the same modules in Chile, the least expensive module market tracked in the new report.

"Regional price disparity grew in 2014, with the U.S. ranking as the highest-priced market for Tier-1 Chinese manufacturers. It should be noted that though the U.S. was the highest-priced market by the end of the year, it was also one of the lowest-margin markets for suppliers. This contrasts with 2013, when Japan and Europe were the highest-priced and highest-margin markets," said GTM Research Solar Analyst and report author Jade Jones.

At the other end of the spectrum is Chile, South America's current leader in total PV capacity. Driven by its utility-scale projects and lack of tariffs, prices for modules in Chile hovered around 56 cents per watt in the fourth quarter of 2014.

In addition to regional tariffs, factors including currency depreciation, downstream demand (mostly China) missing expectations, and increasingly competitive pricing behaviors all impacted price diversity in 2014, noted Jones. The GTM analyst also added that leading suppliers offset this price variance through regionally diverse shipment portfolios.

GTM Research expects regional prices to fall in 2015, noting U.S. prices will likely take the biggest plunge, falling 10 percent between the first and second half of 2015 and reaching 65 cents per watt by the end of 2015.

The full report, which assesses near- and long-term pricing dynamics in PV polysilicon, wafers, cells, and modules by region, can be accessed at http://www.greentechmedia.com/research/report/global-pv-pricing-outlook-2015.

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