July 12, 2012 (Investorideas.com renewable energy newswire) According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, the PV market is making a transition from an emphasis on high efficiency to products with higher price-performance ratio. Solar cell and module makers indicate clients are mainly showing demand for standard, as opposed to high-efficiency, products, resulting in a marked demand increase for multi-Si wafer products with 16.8-17% efficiency.
Improving efficiency has always been the trend in PV product development, while the current change in demand reflects how market needs contradict manufacturers' interests. Industry manufacturers believe the occurrence is merely an anomaly, not indication that the pursuit of efficiency has ended. Production capacity for high-efficiency products is currently limited, which has prevented their prices from falling significantly. For standard products, on the other hand, supply currently exceeds demand, resulting in little price quotation differentiation between clients and a preference for products with higher price-performance ratio.
Affected by a conservative turn in the European market, some manufacturers have adopted a more moderate outlook for the second half of the third quarter. According to industry suppliers, demand visibility only extends to the middle of August; order status is unclear beyond that point. Manufacturers indicate all July capacity has already been taken, and shipments on the client end are on schedule. However, makers are still uncertain about August orders, though negotiations with clients are already underway. Manufacturers also indicate a change in focus; many are targeting the Japanese PV market. However, suppliers also note that while a surge in demand is expected due to government support, Japanese lawmakers may raise technology standards to slow international manufacturers' entry to the Japanese PV market. Thus, future developments regarding the Japanese market are still up in the air.
As for this week's spot prices, manufacturers indicate July prices have just about hit the ceiling. The majority of capacity has been taken up, and prices are generally staying flat. There were a few declines, but there is little room for negotiation. The four major PV makers' polysilicon prices fell within the US$20-22/kg range, but traders have seen deals concluded with second-tier makers at US$19.5/kg. This week's polysilicon prices continue on a slight decline, and manufacturers indicate there is no sign of stabilization - average price fell to US$21.045, a 0.12% decrease. As for silicon wafers, the majority of makers have sold all available capacity for July. Orders were mainly for standard products, and there has been limited space for negotiation. Thus, the silicon wafer price trend stayed flat. Average price for mono-Si wafers, continuously affected by the exchange rate and high-efficiency products, fell by 0.34% to US$1.47/piece.
TRENDFORCE is a global leading research institution providing market intelligence, in-depth analysis reports and consultant services on technology sector. Our company consists of 4 major research divisions---DRAMeXchange, WitsView, LEDinside and EnergyTrend which cover the DRAM, NAND Flash, PC, display, LED and Green energy research sectors respectively. www.trendforce.com
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