PVinsights: Solar prices send bear signal with growth concerns lingering

Solar panel prices continue to drop this week as suppliers suffer from falling demand in EU and escalated price competition spooked by serious oversupply and unclear political environment. With the demand for PV installations in EU and the US beginning to wane on the advent of holiday season, solar panel prices in these regions continue to descent since only limited transactions are made during the holiday season. In addition, in the US market, competition among module makers remains strong so as to make the further pressures on solar panel prices. In India, the increasing demand could not sustain the prices as major players continue to offer slashed prices in the market in attempts to secure more orders. In China, the price is relatively stable due to solid demand in domestic market, but is dragged down in the dollar term with RMB deprecation. Consequently, exacerbating the problem is oversupply nature, which leaves competition remains fierce in major markets, as module players engage in unprecedented price reduction to secure orders.


Solar panel prices continue to drop this week as suppliers suffer from falling demand in EU and escalated price competition spooked by serious oversupply and unclear political environment. With the demand for PV installations in EU and the US beginning to wane on the advent of holiday season, solar panel prices in these regions continue to descent since only limited transactions are made during the holiday season. In addition, in the US market, competition among module makers remains strong so as to make the further pressures on solar panel prices. In India, the increasing demand could not sustain the prices as major players continue to offer slashed prices in the market in attempts to secure more orders. In China, the price is relatively stable due to solid demand in domestic market, but is dragged down in the dollar term with RMB deprecation. Consequently, exacerbating the problem is oversupply nature, which leaves competition remains fierce in major markets, as module players engage in unprecedented price reduction to secure orders.

The prices of both multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline cells decline continuously this week. Regardless of the slumping module prices, the demand of multi-crystalline cells remains stable. The output of multi-crystalline cell has also been carefully controlled as most of solar cell suppliers only maintain around 80% utilization rates but not to operate production at peak in prevention of serious imbalance of supply and demand. Nevertheless, the pressures from weakening downstream prices compounded with sales target in the year end have forced multi-crystalline cell suppliers to comply with price discounts in order to secure more orders. On the other hand, mono-crystalline cell prices have seen relatively obvious correction in contrast to multi-ones since the elevated mono-crystalline cell price is hardly affordable to the buyers. Due to the plunge in solar panel prices, the purchasing power of solar cell buyers has also being hampered. Moreover, as EU and the US markets entering holiday season, mono-crystalline cell suppliers are trying to obtain more orders from Chinese module suppliers to make up for the demand loss in EU and the US by strategic pricing. Furthermore, as the production of mono-crystalline cell ramps up, the tight supply situation earlier in 4Q has also being alleviated. Hence, despite the solid demand of high-efficiency mono-crystalline cells, the enlarged price corrections are witnessed, as buyers are having less purchasing power and the temporarily shortage is being alleviated.

The price of multi-crystalline wafer continues to tumble this week following soften downstream prices. As the leading multi-crystalline wafer makers announced their lowered price quotes for December, the 2nd tier suppliers are forced to follow the trend and to provide even more competitive prices. The prices of multi-crystalline wafer in overseas also drop consecutively following the price adaption in China. On the other hand, mono-crystalline wafer prices remain immobile as tight supply lingers. Amid the downstream mono-crystalline cell production ramping up, the demand of mono-crystalline wafer remains strong. Yet the supply of mono-crystalline wafer currently is unable to digest incoming demand immediately. Hence, mono-crystalline wafer prices remain stable this week amid tight supply.

Polysilicon prices have plateaued this week as suppliers and buyers strengthen their wait-and-see stance. Since downstream wafer manufacturers currently remain high production utilization rates, solid demand fundamentals help to sustain the prices from falling in the short term. Meanwhile, although the recent AD review case against Korean polysilicon suppliers have stirred up speculations of further restrained polysilicon supply in China, currently the market has not much impacted just yet as the case is still in the investigation stage. Korean suppliers also intend to take a wait-and-see stance toward the AD case by accumulating inventories in China instead of disrupting the polysilicon prices. Suppliers, on the other hand, have ceased the pace to push up prices further even though the supply remain tight, as they have sensed the downside risk in downstream but still hesitate to lower the prices. As a result, due to tight supply of polysilicon, the prices of polysilicon stay unchanged this week.

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