Published on Tuesday 28 June 2022 | Article n°410
The market awaits future wafer price trends
Prices continue to rise due to the shortage of silicon. Prices are between 265 and 270 RMB/kg for monograde silicon,
and between 268 and 275 RMB/kg for recycled silicon scrap. Sellers and buyers continue to face uncertainty over lead times and delivery schedules, as the shortage of silicon shows no sign of improving.
An accident on 16 June forced major silicon manufacturers to halt production to inspect lines, slowing the already slow increase in silicon supply.
New capacity will come on stream in July. This may help to reduce line stoppages for inspections.
The shortage of silicon has an immediate effect on the wafer industry, which cannot operate at full capacity. Buyers, who are unable to obtain silicon for their production or new production capacity, are tempted by alternative business models such as partnerships with manufacturers.
Prices have stabilised. The two main manufacturers have not changed their prices. The shortage of 182 mm wafers is intensifying. This could lead to different price variations for different formats, due to the shortage of silicon.
Manufacturers are failing to increase utilisation rates, set up new production capacity and increase output. Manufacturers' wafer inventories remain relatively low, while those of downstream buyers are running out. As more and more cell production capacity is upgraded to 182mm, the gap between supply and demand for 182mm and 210mm wafers will widen.
New specifications for 210mm products will be issued in the second half of the year.
Cell prices are rising as a result of the continuing shortage and stable panel utilisation rates. The market is seeing bids of 1.2-1.21 RMB/W, and even 1.22 RMB/W, for 182mm cells.
Trading prices for 166mm, 182mm and 210mm cells are 1.17 RMB/W, 1.195 RMB-1.2/W and 1.16 RMB-1.18/W respectively.
With demand falling rapidly, it is unlikely that 166mm cell prices will be maintained. Price increases for 182mm cells could be significant, given the ongoing shortage and strong end-user demand. Meanwhile, prices for 210mm cells should stabilise after this week's rise. At the end of this month, cell manufacturers appear to be in a holding pattern, watching for the next official wafer prices.
Panel prices rose slightly this week. Glass-foil panels over 500W are being delivered at 1.86-1.91 RMB/W for ground-mounted projects and 1.93-1.97 RMB/W for distributed projects (excluding domestic transport costs). Glass-to-glass and glass-to-rear-plate panels with a wattage of over 500 W show price differences of 0.02 to 0.04 RMB/W.
Demand for panels is holding up, thanks to projects due to be launched in China in July and August, and good demand from overseas. From next week, panels should be delivered at prices 0.01-0.02 RMB/W higher for ground-mounted projects. Overall average prices will rise marginally.
Prices are stabilising in overseas markets for the time being. In Europe, prices for glass-foil panels over 500 W are holding steady at $0.27-0.28/W, and stand at $0.28-0.295/W on the spot market.
July and August are usually the low season for the European market. This year, however, demand remains strong. Prices could rise by €0.01-0.02/W for distributed projects and remain at $0.27-0.28/W for large power plant projects.
N-type cells and panels :
There are no significant changes in prices, as there are not many price quotes for N-type products. Prices for M6 HJT cells are around 1.3-1.45 RMB/W.
TOPCon M10 and G12 cells have not yet seen much trading. Prices are currently at 1.25-1.27 RMB/W.
Board prices are holding steady this week, at 2.1-2.15 RMB/W for M6 HJT boards, and 0.285-0.33 on overseas markets.
Prices for TOPCon M10 and G12 boards are stable at RMB 2-2.05/W, and at $0.28-0.30/W on overseas markets.
PV InfoLink of 22 June 2022