PVinsights: Solar panel prices slump as global price competition intensifies

Solar panel prices extend losses this week, as Chinese module makers leverage price competition intensively over the globe, especially in the US. Amid waning demand in China, some Chinese module maker is rush to increase the shipment volume in rest of the world, particularly in the US, in order to be the dominant module manufacturer. Since the demand in the US is widely expected to be promising in the coming five years, Chinese module makers has been aiming the US as one of the major target market to penetrate with their overseas capacities. Hence, solar panel price in the US has encountered great pressures, as Chinese module makers fuel strategic pricing intensively in the region. Meanwhile, in China, SEA and India, the regional prices are under pressured as Chinese module makers also intend to leverage price competition to capture more market shares.

Solar panel prices extend losses this week, as Chinese module makers leverage price competition intensively over the globe, especially in the US. Amid waning demand in China, some Chinese module maker is rush to increase the shipment volume in rest of the world, particularly in the US, in order to be the dominant module manufacturer. Since the demand in the US is widely expected to be promising in the coming five years, Chinese module makers has been aiming the US as one of the major target market to penetrate with their overseas capacities. Hence, solar panel price in the US has encountered great pressures, as Chinese module makers fuel strategic pricing intensively in the region. Meanwhile, in China, SEA and India, the regional prices are under pressured as Chinese module makers also intend to leverage price competition to capture more market shares. In Japan, due to the weakness of domestic demand, domestic module suppliers attempt to lower prices to stimulate the demand, yet the demand recovery remains unclear. In Europe, although solar panel prices still remain pressured, the demand in Germany and France has seen signs of recovery after a long streak of price cutback. As the result, overall solar panel prices extend the slump this week as Chinese module makers leverage strategic pricing over the major solar markets particularly in the United States.


Multi-crystalline cell price declines relatively slightly this week as compared to the past few weeks. After multi-crystalline cell prices fell sharply in April, the price of multi-crystalline gradually meet some resistance as current spot prices fall close to the average breakeven points of multi-crystalline cell manufacturers. Nevertheless, the order visibility of most of the multi-crystalline cell makers falls in the range of two to three weeks, while the order visibility in the beginning of 1Q16 was around six to eight weeks. Hence, with the sluggish demand in China and the unclear order visibility, multi-crystalline cell prices are still under pressure. Meanwhile, mono-crystalline cell price also tumbles marginally this week due to the faltered demand. As the price gap between multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline cells expands, the demand improvement of mono-crystalline cell has begun to falter. Moreover, as affected by the bankruptcy of Sunedison, mono PERC cell prices also face tremendous pressure since the order visibility declines. As the result, both prices of mono-crystalline cell and multi-crystalline cell are under pressure due to unclear order visibility and faltered demand.

Multi-crystalline wafer prices remain vulnerable to a correction this week. Yet the decline in multi-crystalline wafer price remains tenderly as the 1st tier wafer manufacturers only slightly lower their price quotes. Nevertheless, as the pressure from downstream price slump extends, more 2nd and 3rd tier wafer manufactures are forced by downstream solar cell makers to accommodate with further price reductions. On the other hand, while multi-crystalline wafer price continues to slump, the mono-crystalline wafer price remains stable amid support of fairly stable demand improvement in China and increasing polysilicon cost. Although the demand of downstream mono-crystalline cell begins to falter, the current consumption of mono-crystalline wafer remains solid. Moreover, mono-crystalline wafer manufacturers also take advantage of the polysilicon rally to support the prices from failing.

The price of polysilicon continues to surge this week as prompted by the tight supply situation in China. As the supply shortage in China sees no sign of alleviation, buyers are forced to accept the high price quotes in order to secure sufficient polysilicon. Meanwhile, as dogged by the rally of polysilicon in China, non-American polysilicon manufacturers also seize the chance to increase prices noticeably, whereas American polysilicon makers could only increase prices limitedly due to the inaccessible to Chinese market. Hence, the overall polysilicon price continues to surge noticeably due to the impact of the supply shortage in China.

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