PVinsights: Price War Heats Up As Chinese Chase Hanwha Q-Cells

Solar panel price around the world extend the slump over the past few weeks amid simmering intensity over competition of global players and strong dollar. Recently, Hanwha Q-cell has been the dominant player in the price war in major solar markets US, EU and Japan. Particularly in the US, the solar panel price has deteriorated most noticeably amid fierce competition. Such attempts lead by Hanwha Q-cell also forces other major Asian module makers to slashing the prices as well, leading US solar panel price drastically lower and continue to renew the record low level. Meanwhile, solar panel prices in China and India are also trending downwards. In China, even as the demand is relatively solid, solar panel prices are dragged down by depreciation of RMB as well as strategic pricing in efforts to win project tenders. As for India, solar panel prices slump as following the downtrend of the rest of the world regardless of its solid demand growth.


Solar panel price around the world extend the slump over the past few weeks amid simmering intensity over competition of global players and strong dollar. Recently, Hanwha Q-cell has been the dominant player in the price war in major solar markets US, EU and Japan. Particularly in the US, the solar panel price has deteriorated most noticeably amid fierce competition. Such attempts lead by Hanwha Q-cell also forces other major Asian module makers to slashing the prices as well, leading US solar panel price drastically lower and continue to renew the record low level. Meanwhile, solar panel prices in China and India are also trending downwards. In China, even as the demand is relatively solid, solar panel prices are dragged down by depreciation of RMB as well as strategic pricing in efforts to win project tenders. As for India, solar panel prices slump as following the downtrend of the rest of the world regardless of its solid demand growth. On the other hand, price of solar panel in EU is negatively impacted by strong dollar that lead the drop of prices become more obvious this week. Moreover, as holiday season approaches, the weakening demand in EU has further pressure EU solar panel prices. In Japan, despite the solid demand, solar panel price has been driven lower due to sharp depreciation of JPY. Therefore, solar panel prices around the world extend losses to record lows on strong dollar, weakening demand and intensified competition.

Both multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline cell prices remain vulnerable to corrections following the downtrend of solar panel prices. As newly ramped-up capacities gradually come on stream to boost the supply of solar cells, t demand for solar cells does not improve accordingly. Moreover, the pressures from weakening downstream prices compounded with sales target in the year end have forced solar cell suppliers to comply with price discounts in order to secure more orders. On the other hand, mono-crystalline cell prices extend the slump following the drop of multi-crystalline cell and downstream module prices. As the production of mono-crystalline cell continues to retrieve, the tight supply situation earlier has become alleviated. Meanwhile, the demand of mono-crystalline cell also seems to temper as EU and US demand wanes and buyers purchasing power weakens. In addition, with recent RMB depreciation, solar cell in China has dropped noticeably in dollar term, even as there is no significant price drop in RMB term. As the result, both multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline cell prices continue weakening this week as declining downstream price and increasing solar cell supply further pressure the prices.

Multi-crystalline wafer prices remain pressured this week following the drop of downstream prices. With near-full utilization rates from solar cell makers, the demand for both multi-crystalline and mono-crystalline wafer prices is actually quite solid. However, amid alleviated supply constraint of multi-crystalline wafer and sliding downstream prices, the price downtrend of multi-crystalline wafer is inevitable. On the other hand, regardless of declining downstream prices, mono-crystalline wafer prices remain immobile in RMB term as tight supply lingers. As solar cell preference leans toward high-efficiency mono-ones, the mono-crystalline wafer is more in demand than multi-crystalline wafer, yet the supply of mono-crystalline remain tight due to limited numbers of suppliers. Nevertheless, due to depreciation of RMB, mono-crystalline wafer prices drop as translated in USD term. Mono-crystalline wafer in overseas also stay stable this week as supply restrain persists. Therefore, overall mono-crystalline wafer price drops slightly this week as dragged by the declining price of mono-crystalline wafer in China due to RMB depreciation.

Regardless of downstream price slump, polysilicon price increase this week. As Chinese officials intensified their rhetoric to restrain the Korean polysilicon imports after China imposes retaliation against Korea. Mounting speculation of tighter polysilicon supply in China enable Chinese polysilicon makers to push up prices further, even as the AD review case against Korean polysilicon suppliers has yet to take effects. However, as Chinese polysilicon prices rising near saturation points, the momentum of price hike have also seem to temper. On the other hand, as Chinese polysilicon prices surge, traders in overseas also cease their paces on dumping. As the result, overall polysilicon prices continue to rise this week due to the price surge in China.

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