PVinsights: Solar prices extend longest losing streak since 2016

The prices of both multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline modules continue to tumble this week. The slower demand in China has triggered fears over solar market turbulence, not just in China but across the Asia, with contagious spillovers to the global markets. The solar panel prices in China have experienced a great pressure as the competition among the suppliers become extremely intense in order to compete for limited solar projects especially after more domestic production capacities ramped up by Chinese 2nd tier suppliers. Meanwhile, in order to digest the excess stockpiles that left from slow China demand, the 2nd tier Chinese module suppliers also intend to strengthen its presences in the key solar markets, India and SEA where no punitive tariff are enforced. Hence, solar panel prices in these regions have seen fierce price competition with price quotes around $0.40/watt.


The prices of both multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline modules continue to tumble this week. The slower demand in China has triggered fears over solar market turbulence, not just in China but across the Asia, with contagious spillovers to the global markets. The solar panel prices in China have experienced a great pressure as the competition among the suppliers become extremely intense in order to compete for limited solar projects especially after more domestic production capacities ramped up by Chinese 2nd tier suppliers. Meanwhile, in order to digest the excess stockpiles that left from slow China demand, the 2nd tier Chinese module suppliers also intend to strengthen its presences in the key solar markets, India and SEA where no punitive tariff are enforced. Hence, solar panel prices in these regions have seen fierce price competition with price quotes around $0.40/watt. On the other hand, for the 1st tier Chinese module makers, who aggressively invest in overseas capacity expansion, find the US as the main target market to erode their accumulated inventories by strategic pricing, pressurizing the solar panel price in the US. While in the EU and Japan, solar panel prices fall relatively limited in contrast to that in China, India, and the US, due to relatively stabilized demand. Consequently, the overall solar panel prices slump extensively this week as the impacts of speeding-up paces of overseas and domestic capacity expansions are compounded by the uncertain investment environment created by China.

Multi-crystalline cell prices extend the longest weekly losing streak since 2016. While some multi-crystalline cell makers intend to lower the production rates, the limited scope of production curtailment has failed to stabilize multi-crystalline cell prices. In fact, with mounting concerns on serious demand weakness in China and high reserves of solar panels, the low order visibilities and weakening buyer sentiments have forced solar cell makers to release further price discounts in order to secure limited orders. Hence, multi-crystalline cell prices remain pressured this week. On the other hand, mono-crystalline cell sees a bigger price correction than multi-crystalline cell this week. Following the sharp slump of multi-crystalline cell price in the past few weeks, mono-crystalline cell makers attempt to reduce the expanded price gap with multi-crystalline ones to prevent the demand shift. Furthermore, some solar cell makers aim for higher margin of mono-crystalline cells and increase the production in mono-crystalline cells in efforts to compensate the losses from sales in multi-ones. However, such supply increase compounded with faltering demand make mono-crystalline cell to suffer with obvious losses.

The price drop of multi-crystalline wafer also accelerates along the price slump of downstream components. With slumped downstream prices, weakening demand, and flooded-in supply from 2nd and 3rd tier suppliers, the growing imbalances in supply-and-demand have hampered the bargaining power of multi-crystalline wafer suppliers. The leading multi-crystalline wafer supplier, GCL, has taken the lead on lowering price quotes, compelling other 2nd tier and non-Chinese rivals to offer more competitive prices. Moreover, multi-crystalline wafer buyers become more conservative on releasing orders amid speculation of further price reduction. As the result, multi-crystalline wafer drops extensively this week as the oversupply situation worsens. Such decline in multi-crystalline wafer price also stirs the chain reaction of mono-crystalline wafer price. In China, the mono-crystalline wafer drops more obviously as the downstream demand freeze after June 30th. Moreover, the leading mono-crystalline Chinese wafer supplier also intends to curtail the price gap between mono- and multi-crystalline wafers in order to sustain its market shares. Outside of China, the prices of mono-crystalline wafer drop along with the correction in China. Hence, the overall mono-crystalline wafer price tumbles this week following the slashed demand and downstream prices.

In response to wafer price slumps, polysilicon prices remain pressured. Nevertheless, Chinese and non-Chinese polysilicon suppliers intend to lower quotes only incrementally since the wafer makers still possess high utilization rates. In addition, Chinese polysilicon suppliers maintain certain amount of cheaper overseas polysilicon and some ingot procurements, to sell in domestic market for higher spot prices. Hence, polysilicon prices in China and outside China drop relatively limited as compared with downstream components with the support of sustainable demand. However, as wafer makers turn more pessimistic regarding the outlook, the procurement of polysilicon also become more conservatives, which in turn pressuring the polysilicon prices.

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