the prices

The evolution of the sector

Published on Saturday 9 September 2023 | Article n°456

Monthly silicon production volume is expected to rise from 56 to 57 GW in September, an increase of 6 to 8% month-on-month. This is the first monthly increase in the third quarter. This is the result of

the end of high electricity consumption in China due to high temperatures. Most of the major manufacturers will be able to increase their production volumes. In addition, new capacity will come on stream at the end of the third quarter.

Nevertheless, manufacturers are taking orders at increasingly high prices. The consumer price range climbs to 78-87 RMB/kg for monograde silicon, and 89-96 RMB/kg for high quality silicon from the major manufacturers, with prices even exceeding these limits. Such price increases seem to contradict the increase in production volume. However, the actual supply on the spot market of different grades of silicon varies more significantly.

Wafers :

Manufacturers continue to revise their production plans upwards in September, with monthly production above 60 GW, representing monthly growth of 10%. With Tier 1 and Tier 2 manufacturers maintaining relatively high utilisation rates, commercial pressure on the wafer sector will increase as production continues to rise. Silicon prices continue to rise, and wafer manufacturers are gradually seeing their profit margins shrink as wafer prices remain stable.

The price of M10 P-type and N-type wafers is stable at 3.33-3.35 RMB/piece and 3.45-3.47 RMB/piece. P-type G12 wafers fell back slightly to RMB 4.25 per piece, with some variations as manufacturers liquidated their stocks. Type N wafers, which have a smaller market share, are seeing their prices remain high at RMB 4.47 per piece.

Next week, wafer prices will stabilise at their current level, even if the price of silicon rises.

Cells :

Although panel manufacturers are maintaining their production plans in order to meet their shipment targets, cell manufacturers are starting to lower their prices this week

The price of M10 cells falls to 0.73-0.75 RMB/W for PERC cells. During negotiations, the low price range may fall to 0.72-0.73 RMB/W. Trading prices for TOPCon cells are between 0.78 and 0.8 RMB/W. There is a spread of 0.05-0.06 RMB/W between the two qualities.

PERC G12 cell prices are stabilising at 0.73 RMB/W due to the balance between supply and demand. The price of G12 HJT cells, mainly for internal use and to a lesser extent for external sales, remained at 0.85 RMB/W.

Despite the downward trend in panel prices this week, the sector still has balanced production and sales capacity. In the short term, cell prices could fall further, but only at a slow pace, to avoid an accelerated fall in panel prices.

Panels :

Prices vary, with Tier 1 manufacturers delivering between RMB1.16 and RMB1.24/W for ground-mounted projects and between RMB1.15 and RMB1.25/W for distributed generation projects. Some are even offering prices above 1.3 RMB/W.

Tier 2 and Tier 3 manufacturers generally increase their prices by 0.02 RMB/W for cost reasons. Prices for glass-fibre panels range from 1.24 to 1.26 RMB/W, but trading volumes are low due to limited end-user acceptance. Panel manufacturers are coming under more pressure as prices in the supply chain rise. Tier 1 panel manufacturers are accepting lower forward prices, many below 1.2 RMB/W, to secure orders. In September, prices are likely to stabilise.

The price of N-type panels is little changed: the average price of TOPCon panels is 1.3-1.33 RMB/W and orders are delivered at 1.25-1.38 RMB/W ($0.15-0.21), with the premium over PERC panels remaining at $0.008-0.01/W overseas. On markets outside China, prices for HJT panels are between $0.195 and $0.2/W.

Chinese exporters are delivering products at between $0.15 and $0.165/W (FOB) this week. In Europe, spot prices are between €0.15 and €0.165/W, with panels with a black backsheet commanding a premium of between €0.02 and €0.025/W.

InfoLink of 6 September 2023

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