PVinsights: Solar cell and wafer prices stabilize amid the improving demand

After a long streak of losses, both prices of multi- and mono-crystalline solar cells finally stabilize this week. With the approaching of the Chinese long holiday in early October, solar cell buyers are placing more orders to prepare the materials before the holiday. Moreover, the recent release of project tenders globally also helps to stimulate the demand for solar cells. Therefore, the purchasing behaviors have become more active recently, and the order visibilities for some solar cell makers have also increased from less than 2 weeks to 2-3 weeks. Nevertheless, solar cell makers are still holding the low utilization rates at around 60-70% as they perceive the demand recovery to be more short-termed, and they have yet to assure an obvious uptick in demand.


After a long streak of losses, both prices of multi- and mono-crystalline solar cells finally stabilize this week. With the approaching of the Chinese long holiday in early October, solar cell buyers are placing more orders to prepare the materials before the holiday. Moreover, the recent release of project tenders globally also helps to stimulate the demand for solar cells. Therefore, the purchasing behaviors have become more active recently, and the order visibilities for some solar cell makers have also increased from less than 2 weeks to 2-3 weeks. Nevertheless, solar cell makers are still holding the low utilization rates at around 60-70% as they perceive the demand recovery to be more short-termed, and they have yet to assure an obvious uptick in demand. Although the downstream module prices are still under pressure, solar cell makers could hardly accept further prices reductions anymore unless they could obtain lower-priced wafers. With the flattened weekly wafer prices and uptick in demand before the Chinese long holiday in October, solar cell prices find some alleviation this week.

Following the demand recovery in solar cell, wafer makers also see improved order bookings before the Chinese long holidays in October. Furthermore, the top tier Chinese multi-crystalline wafer maker not only curtail its productions, but also have started their holidays about one week ahead of the National holiday in October in efforts to lessen more stock pressures considering the inventory level of multi-crystalline wafer in the market remain high. With the accelerated clearance of stockpiles and the wake of downstream demand, multi-crystalline wafer prices bottom out this week. Similarly, mono-crystalline wafer prices stabilize this week following the stabilization of multi-crystalline wafer prices and the improved demand. Since the stock pressure for mono-crystalline wafer is considerably lower than multi-ones, the previous correction of mono-crystalline wafer was mostly pressured by the slashing multi-crystalline wafer prices that mono-crystalline wafer makers were forced to comply in order to prevent demand shift. However, with stabilized multi-crystalline wafer prices, mono-crystalline wafer prices also flatten this week.

Contradictory, both multi- and mono-crystalline module prices are still not out of wood yet as the Chinese module makers continue to stir price turbulence worldwide. During several global exhibitions recently, module prices have witnessed fresh record lows in Japan, US, India, and Dubai. The aggressive pricing by Chinese module makers are in efforts to curtail the inventories that left from rapid capacity expansions. Moreover, it is also obvious that Chinese module makers are also actively in expanding their market shares globally as they have reached out from major solar markets, such as EU, US, Japan to emerging countries in the Middle East as witnessed in Intersolar Dubai. Fortunately, with sliding solar panel prices to historical lows, it appears that solar panel buyers are more willing to place orders that have restored some of the demand back.

Polysilicon prices continue to extend slump this week. Since Chinese polysilicon makers did not comply with the price drop accordingly during the market downturn in July and August, the inventory level of polysilicon has piled up more than expected. Chinese polysilicon makers have initiated aggressive pricing to relieve their pressures since September, but the slow response to the market indicates that both the inventory level and the price of polysilicon have plenty of rooms for further correction. In order to meet quarterly financials and to comply with the bargain request from buyers, polysilicon makers are still pressured to give more price discounts despite the demand recovery in the wafer and cell sector. As the result, polysilicon prices fall consecutively this week.

Featured Product

Kipp & Zonen - DustIQ the novel soiling monitoring solution for solar panels

Kipp & Zonen - DustIQ the novel soiling monitoring solution for solar panels

Soiling of the panel glass is one of the major problems in the rapidly expanding solar energy market, with the attendant loss of efficiency and reduction in performance ratios. Now, there's a new, simple and very cost-effective alternative. Based on Kipp & Zonen's unique Optical Soiling Measurement (OSM) technology, DustIQ can be easily added to new or existing solar arrays and integrated into plant management systems. The unit is mounted to the frame of a PV panel and does not need sunlight to operate. It continuously measures the transmission loss through glass caused by soiling, so that the reduction in light reaching the solar cells can be calculated.