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Solar cell spot price to grow 2.87% in Q3 2010

Posted: 20 Aug 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar cell? wafer? price?

Strong demand and insufficient wafer capacity is driving up the spot market price of wafers and solar cells. Market analyst EnergyTrend reports that the quarterly average price for Q2 2010 was at $1.39 per watt, compared to $1.3 per watt in Q1 2010, or a 7.2 percent increase quarter-on-quarter. For Q3 2010, the analyst forecasts the price to reach $1.43 per watt, or 2.87 percent quarter-on-quarter.

EnergyTrend also notes that the market prices of wafer and polysilicon began to rise simultaneously. The wafer capacity shortage has driven the spot price of wafer to $4 per piece, but the actual transaction price is still in the range between $3.5 to $3.7. For polysilicon, the current market price is $60 per kilogram, increasing from an average price of $55 per kilogram in Q2 2010.

Looking at the industry, the analyst sees two important trends: the investment of large organizations in the and the rise of niche markets. And as bigger players in the industry are getting bigger, 1GW is becoming the basic production capacity requirement for c-Si solar cell companies.

Out of the top ten solar cell factories in 2009, except First Solar, all are silicon solar cell manufacturers. According to EnergyTrend's interviews, manufacturers with 1GW capacity will have greater purchasing advantages and lower manufacturing costs, compared to those with smaller capacities. Therefore, 1GW will be the basic requirement of first-tier makers in 2010; whether it is China's Suntech, Yingli, Trina Solar, or Taiwan's Motech, Gintech, Neo Solar, the capacity allocation is targeted at 1GW.

Polysilicon and Silicon Wafer Price Trend (Source: EnergyTrend)

Polysilicon and Silicon Wafer Price Trend (Source: EnergyTrend)

Aside from traditional solar manufacturers, Samsung, LG, AU Optronics, Taiwan Semiconductor and other major manufacturers have also entered the solar industry. Many of Taiwan's electronic manufacturers having joined different parts of the solar energy industry chain through reinvestments and joint ventures.

The niche market has also become a major focus for new manufacturers, resulting in the growth of thin film technology. However, in 2H 2008, the market suddenly reversed because of strong demand and material shortage. The efficiency and price of thin film technology could not compete with that of traditional silicon, and by using the properties of the thin film to find a new niche market has become a market strategy of thin film makers. Products such as building integrated photovoltaics, those for automotive and agricultural use are developed in this niche market. The development of thin film, which works better than traditional silicon in low-light conditions, has also resulted in the creation of what is being called the "blue ocean" market, as seen in Auria Solar's moon technology.

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