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No dodging the downtrend for wafer makers, says analyst

Posted: 31 Aug 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:multiSi wafer? polysilicon spot price? ASP?

EnergyTrend, the green energy research unit of TrendForce, has revealed that manufacturers are experiencing poor market condition that caused suppliers' inventory levels to continue rising. Related manufacturers noted that the bleak market outlook results in the persisting price downtrend as the industry believes prices have not hit the rock bottom yet.

During the recent price adjustments, EnergyTrend believes wafer makers suffered from the most prominent downturnaside from the pressure from upstream and downstream players, the price competition among multiSi wafer makers fueled the downtrend. EnergyTrend expects 2012 to be a difficult year for wafer makers as no signs of rebound is in sight.

According to the recent financial reports, wafer makers' financial situations could not get any worse. GCL saw a loss of $34.1 million in its solar business; ReneSola suffered from a $75 million loss; Korean wafer maker Nexolon saw a loss $60.08 million from 1H12; Taiwan's Green Energy Technology saw a loss of $58.8 million. First-tier companies from Taiwan, China and Korea all underwent losses. Although manufacturers have been striving to lower manufacturing costs, the cost per wafer still ranges from $1.05/piece to $1.14/piece, with the spot price dropping to $1.03/piece. As a result, manufacturers are selling at a loss. Looking toward 2H12, with no upswing in sight and the on-going solar trade wars amongst China, the U.S. and Europe, 2H12 will see the slump persist and prices continue plunging.

TCL Smart TV name

PV Spot Price
Source: EnergyTrend, Aug 2012

The price downturn lingered, especially in the mono-Si wafer price. Polysilicon spot price dropped to $18/kg, with ASP sliding to $20.128/kg, a 1.69 percent decrease. As for multiSi wafers, non-standard products remained popular with the prices ranging from $0.7/piece to $0.8/piece. As for standard products, ASP came down to $1.024/piece, a 0.29 percent decrease. For mono-Si wafers, due to the stagnant demand, certain manufacturers have ceased their production, and the prices continued plummeting on account of the pressure from high-efficiency multiSi productsASP dipped to $1.321, a 2.72 percent decrease. Solar cell and modules prices were on a decline as wellcurrently non-standard products (type B) became the mainstream in the market, which affected standard products' market share. Cell ASP dropped to $0.417/W, a 1.88 decrease. As for solar modules, affected by the anti-dumping cases and the weak demand from power plants, Chinese module makers barely kept afloatmodule ASP fell to $0.689/W, a 2.13 percent decrease. For thin film, suppliers state that because their prices were unable to keep up with modules' price downtrend, they are currently focused on keeping the losses under control. Thin film prices dropped to $0.68/W, a 0.87 percent decrease.

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