PVinsights: Solar slides as demand weakness weighs

With tempered RMB rally, polysilicon prices ceased the uptrend this week. Polysilicon was not able to inch higher in China, in part because recent stagnation have been seen mostly as downstream demand continued to fade, leading most buyers to refuse any higher prices. High polysilicon prices went beyond buyers' affordability with depressed downstream prices, and some wafer producers even not did rule out the possibility to reduce the productivity in the face of bearish outlook, slashing the demand for polysilicon. Polysilicon in overseas market also hit the plateau this week.


With tempered RMB rally, polysilicon prices ceased the uptrend this week. Polysilicon was not able to inch higher in China, in part because recent stagnation have been seen mostly as downstream demand continued to fade, leading most buyers to refuse any higher prices. High polysilicon prices went beyond buyers' affordability with depressed downstream prices, and some wafer producers even not did rule out the possibility to reduce the productivity in the face of bearish outlook, slashing the demand for polysilicon. Polysilicon in overseas market also hit the plateau this week. Escalating pessimism in the downstream dominated sentiment in the markets as the tension between buyers and suppliers threatened to boil over into procurement cut, leading prices to stall from highs.

Multi-crystalline wafer prices reversed two-week gains, dipping slightly on bearish demand. Without the disruption on sharp appreciation of RMB, the price focus has shifted back to fundamentals, given weaker trend this week. As pressure from downstream cell and module sectors extended, solar wafer buyers were reducing wafer procurement amid eroded margins. With the growing market share on diamond-wired wafers, the tight supplies in slurry-sawed wafers seemed to alleviate, and the overall multi-crystalline wafer prices were poised to drop due to the lower cost nature. On the other hand, mono-crystalline wafer prices dropped along with multi-ones. The sluggish demand was still hovering over the market, suggesting that mono-wafer suppliers, especially 2nd or 3rd tier ones, confronted with the weakening demand in China, and consequently offered price discount in order to secure the orders.

Multi-crystalline cell prices extended the slump this week. Improvements in maintaining healthy margins and lower procurement volumes by solar cell buyers were factors making solar cell suppliers appear less vulnerable to the risk of price correction when the module prices continue to taper. Recently, some major buyers started to slash orders due to deteriorated margins resulted from sliding module prices. The sliding panel prices added to evidence that the world's top solar market has lost its momentum, giving module makers room to focus on reining in adopting stricter control on costs and inventory management. In addition, more solar cell makers also adopt faster transition to use diamond-wired wafers to replace the conventional multi-crystalline cells in order to in line with the depressed module prices. The drop of mono-crystalline cells persisted this week amid lingering worries about the China demand backsliding. Moreover, high-efficiency mono-PERC cell prices dropped more noticeably resulting from falling demand.

Solar panel prices resumed back to a downtrend without the buffer of weakening greenback. The decline came amid diminishing speculation that China demand stood at the precipice of an expansion, with the pessimism were fueling as worsening gluts staged price competition, though the modification were limited by the pricey upstream materials. In overseas markets, solar panel prices stayed fairly stable on stabilized dollar. Multi-crystalline module prices in EU, US, Japan, and India were remained immobile from previous week but mono-ones fell on the weakening demand, especially for high-efficiency products like mono-perc modules.

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