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Rising utilization rate ups polysilicon price

Posted: 16 Jan 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar cell? contract price? polysilicon?

According to EnergyTrend, a research arm of TrendForce Corp, as order visibility has increased and supply has tightened due to the transition of demand to high efficiency products, suppliers are slowly regaining control of prices. In terms of the current supply and demand as well as the price trend, 1Q12 price will see incremental price increases.

Due to continual orders from North American regions, solar cell makers' capacity utilization rate has increased in January. Additionally, the end of holiday vacations brings more price inquiries from European clients, increasing trading activity on the market.

PV spot price

1Q12 polysilicon price will see incremental price increases. (Source: EnergyTrend)

EnergyTrend has confirmed the rising polysilicon price trend. According to EnergyTrend, many top-tier makers have already concluded Q1 contract price negotiations. Currently, only a few companies are still discussing details. In terms of contract price, makers have sold at prices of about $28-30/kg for priority clients, and $30-40/kg for others. High-efficiency Si wafer demand remains strong, but currently only a portion of wafer makers are able to provide products with more than 17 percent conversion efficiency. According to EnergyTrend, some Si wafer makers have already sold all of their January production and are engaging in price negotiations for February, a clear indication that high-efficiency products will remain in tight supply in the short term.

Although Taiwan solar cell makers' capacity utilization rate has seen significant increases due to the influx of North American orders, EnergyTrend research indicates that most orders are large-scale solar system contracts. In consideration of overall costs and internal rate of return (IRR), currently demand for high efficiency products is not high, with standard products accounting for most of demand. Therefore, downstream solar cell and module makers are mostly quoting flat pricesprices have only been increased for a portion of high efficiency products, in order to test out the market. Furthermore, Chinese makers are still mainly providing standard products and quoting flat prices, resulting in a price trend discrepancy when it comes to different product quality. EnergyTrend believes that unless the market sees a major change, based on the currently supply and demand status, in 1Q12 high efficiency products will see a gradual rise in price, while standard product price will stay flat.

Rush orders give solar makers some relief
The details in this report have validated EnergyTrend's previous survey. True enough, the rush orders from North America and Europe have affected how contract and spot prices are being negotiated, to the benefit of solar makers.

As for this week's spot prices, lowest polysilicon price increased slightly, to $23/kg. Affected by the slight market recovery, average polysilicon price increased by 7.81 percent to $27.06/kg. As for Si wafers, lowest prices stayed flat: $1/piece and $1.50/piece for multiSi and mono-Si wafers, respectively. This week's average multiSi wafer price increased by 0.53 percent to $1.148/piece. According to EnergyTrend, the Chinese market currently consists most of standard products, as Chinese makers are behind their Taiwan counterparts in terms of high efficiency product development. This has pulled average multiSi wafer price down. Average mono-Si wafer price has also fallen slightly, by 0.57 percent to $1.559/piece. This week's average solar cell price increased slightly to $0.512/W, up by 1.39 percent. Module prices stayed flat. Related vendors indicate, as currently everyone is experiencing losses still, if upstream price continues to rise, shipment price may see appropriate adjustments in the future.

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