[Insights] Unstoppable Decline in Polysilicon and Module Prices; Wafer and Cell Prices Hold Steady for Now

Source to TrendForce, the most recent update on solar materials pricing indicates an ongoing decline in Polysilicon and Module prices, while Wafer and Cell prices are holding steady for the time being.

  • Polysilicon

Polysilicon prices continue to decline throughout the week. The mainstream concluded price for mono recharge polysilicon is RMB 64/KG, while mono dense polysilicon is priced at RMB 62/KG and N-type polysilicon is currently priced at RMB 66/KG.

Looking at the market transaction dynamics, there’s not a significant volume of orders being placed. Some companies are gearing up for December’s order negotiations. Observing the price trend, polysilicon manufacturers are adjusting prices for both new and existing orders. Even some previously high-priced orders have experienced declines.

Furthermore, the average price of N-type polysilicon in new orders is generally below the 70000 yuan/ton mark. On the supply side, numerous projects are now in production, leading to a constant increase in the marginal increment of polysilicon and further swelling polysilicon inventory. Consequently, polysilicon manufacturers are grappling with increased pressure to de-stock.

Despite a month-on-month rise in operation rates for professional wafer manufacturers, creating additional demand for polysilicon, the surplus supply remains challenging to address.

This week, polysilicon prices continue their downward trajectory, and there’s a significant oversupply of polysilicon. Moreover, with customer installation demand still not turning positive, crystal pulling manufacturers are adopting a pessimistic stance toward future polysilicon prices, displaying a cautious approach to purchasing polysilicon.

On the flip side, polysilicon manufacturers are determined to maintain current prices and show no signs of reducing prices to clear inventory. In conclusion, a tug-of-war in pricing dynamics is evident between buyers and sellers.

  • Wafer

The prices of wafer have maintained stable throughout the week. The mainstream concluded price for M10 P-type wafer is RMB 2.30/Pc, while G12 P-type wafer is priced at RMB 3.30/Pc and M10 N-type is priced at RMB2.40/Pc.

On the supply side, wafer inventory has returned to the reasonable range, sitting at approximately 1.3-1.5 billion pieces. Analyzing various wafer types, the inventory of 210mm P-type wafers has seen a notable decrease, with the consumption rate slowing due to weakened demand.

With the alleviation of inventory pressure, specialized wafer manufacturers are ramping up their operational rates, resulting in a slight month-on-month increase in wafer output. Turning to the demand side, cell manufacturers are indicating a reduction in the production of 182mm P-type cells, while there’s no change in output for other cell types.

Consequently, the purchasing demand for 182mm P-type wafers is expected to decrease. Although wafer prices are holding steady this week, considering the divergent operational rates among downstream cell manufacturers, a future divergence in prices between N-type and P-type wafers is anticipated.

Moreover, attention should be directed towards whether the demand and supply relationship can sustain stable prices after the higher wafer activation rates lead to an increase in wafer output during the same period.

  • Cell

Cell prices have maintained stable this week. The mainstream concluded price for M10 cell is RMB 0.46/W, while G12 cell is priced at RMB 0.56/W. The price of M10 mono TOPCon cell is RMB 0.49/W.

On the supply side, cell inventory can currently sustain for about six to seven days, but the pressure on inventory is mounting as downstream demand gradually declines. We’re currently in the midst of the technology iteration phase for N-type and P-type cells.

The production capacity of 182mm P-type cells has significantly dropped, leading to a decline in its OEM fees to 1.0-1.2 yuan. Given the current cell price and the manufacturing cost, the production line for 182mm P-type cells is operating at a loss, while the 210mm P-type cells are still profitable, thanks to orders this month.

However, as order deliveries conclude, the tense supply and demand dynamics are expected to ease. On the demand side, downstream module prices continue to slide, prompting module manufacturers to push for a reduction in cell prices. Additionally, customer demand is sluggish, and buyers are adopting a more cautious approach to future purchases.

This week, cell prices remain relatively stable, but production of 182mm P-type cells has been significantly reduced due to sustained losses, leading to a simultaneous decline in demand and supply. Nevertheless, there is still support from order deliveries for 210mm P-type cells.

In conclusion, with module prices consistently decreasing, we anticipate that cell prices will face increasing pressure in the coming weeks.

  • Module

Module prices have gone down throughout the week. The mainstream concluded price for 182mm facial mono PERC module is RMB 1.03/W, 210mm facial mono PERC module is priced at RMB 1.04/W, 182mm bifacial glass PERC module at RMB 1.04/W, and 210mm bifacial glass PERC module at RMB 1.05/W.

On the supply side, prices quoted by leading manufacturers to their dealers have plummeted to less than 1 yuan/W, and bidding prices for recent projects are hitting unprecedented lows. The competition among module manufacturers has reached a fever pitch, driving prices in the sector to their rock bottom.

As the N-type and P-type technology undergo iteration, production capacity is slated to be officially cleared at its current low price. Shifting to the demand side, October saw a month-on-month decrease in new PV installations, indicating a clear decline in installation demand, according to statistics from the NEA.

Although distributed PV installed capacity remains robust, it cannot sustain a significant increase, and centralized ground installations are entering their off-season. Additionally, there’s no indication of a rebound in overseas demand, making it challenging for customer demand for module purchases to turn positive.

As the year draws to a close and earinings reports will be reported, manufacturers are grappling with the pressure to meet annual goals, intensifying the need to clear inventory. However, they find themselves in a precarious position in negotiations with customers, compelling them to further reduce prices to facilitate more shipments.

In summary, module prices are experiencing a decline this week and are anticipated to further decrease in the near future.


[Insights] Polysilicon and Module Prices are still Going Down, While Wafer and Cell Prices Maintain Stable this week

Source to TrendForce, the latest solar materials price revealed that Polysilicon prices are declining due to decreased orders and increased supply; Wafer prices remain stable but face potential pressure.

  • Polysilicon

Polysilicon prices continue to decline throughout the week. The mainstream concluded price for mono recharge polysilicon is RMB 65/KG, while mono dense polysilicon is priced at RMB 63/KG, and N-type polysilicon is currently priced at RMB 68/KG.

Looking at the market transaction dynamics, orders took a hit this week, and collectively signing orders within a centralized period has ceased. Observing the price trends, major manufacturers are experiencing a decline in new orders, causing a further narrowing of the transaction prices for both N-type and P-type polysilicon.

Looking at the supply side, the new production capacity of leading polysilicon manufacturers is set to come online this month, contributing to an uptick in output. Consequently, the polysilicon supply will continue to outpace demand, leading to a further increase in polysilicon inventory, which has now reached the range of 90,000 to 120,000 tons this week. Shifting the focus to the downstream industrial chain, the wafer inventory has reverted to a reasonable level, and there’s a slight uptick in the activation rate of crystal-pulling manufacturers.

This has resulted in an increased demand for polysilicon. However, this heightened demand is insufficient to counterbalance the marginal increase in polysilicon supply. In summary, the price of polysilicon is on a downward trajectory, and with new production capacities slated to come online by year-end, the short-term supply-demand imbalance is unlikely to be rectified.

Compounding this, the absence of concrete demand from customers indicates an anticipated further dip in polysilicon prices. The inventory of N-type polysilicon is expanding, intensifying pressure on upstream raw materials. Consequently, the support for N-type polysilicon prices is diminishing, and the price gap between N-type and P-type polysilicon is expected to shrink.

  • Wafer

The prices of wafers have remained stable throughout the week. The mainstream concluded price for the M10 P-type wafer is RMB 2.30/Pc, while the G12 P-type wafer is priced at RMB 3.30/Pc and the M10 N-type is priced at RMB2.40/Pc.

On the supply side, there are indications that specialized polysilicon manufacturers may ramp up their operating rates, primarily due to a reduction in wafer inventory. The current inventory of wafers has dwindled to the range of 1.4-1.6 billion pieces, bringing substantial relief to wafer manufacturers from inventory pressures. Switching to the demand side, the pressure on cell demand persists, with cell inventory remaining unconsumed.

Consequently, some cell manufacturers are contemplating production cuts to mitigate potential future losses. This slowdown in demand from cell manufacturers is causing a sluggishness in the demand for wafers. Currently, both wafer and cell prices are hovering close to their production costs, empowering manufacturers on both fronts to engage in assertive bargaining. As a result, it is anticipated that price negotiations will reach a stalemate in the short term.

In summary, wafer prices have held steady this week, but it’s crucial to remain vigilant as wafer prices might face renewed pressure. This could be triggered by a decline in upstream raw material prices and the persistent lack of positive momentum in downstream demand.

  • Cell

Cell prices have been different with the G12 cell price rebounding and other types remaining stable this week. The mainstream concluded price for the M10 cell is RMB 0.46/W, while the G12 cell is priced at RMB 0.56/W. The price of the M10 mono TOPCon cell is RMB 0.49/W.

On the supply side, the overall cell inventory is proving challenging to deplete due to the persistently sluggish downstream demand. This situation is exerting increased pressure on cell inventory levels. Additionally, faced with the challenge of low cell prices, a portion of the high-cost P-type cell production capacity has been gradually scaled back. If prices continue to decline in the future, this segment of production capacity may eventually phase out.

This underscores the evolving landscape of P-type and N-type cell technologies, prompting cell manufacturers to reassess how they manage the older production capacity of P-type cells. Shifting to the demand side, module inventory remains elevated, yet overseas customer demand remains weak even during the peak season. In summary, cell prices have remained stable this week. With the support from the delivery of orders this month, there is intense demand for 210mm P-type cells, leading to a rebound in their prices.

  • Module

Module prices have gone down slightly throughout the week. The mainstream concluded price for 182mm facial mono PERC module is RMB 1.06/W, 210mm facial mono PERC module is priced at RMB 1.08/W, 182mm bifacial glass PERC module at RMB 1.07/W, and 210mm bifacial glass PERC module at RMB 1.09/W.

On the supply side, there’s a divergence in production schedules among module manufacturers. First-tier manufacturers are maintaining stable delivery schedules with sufficient orders, while second and third-tier manufacturers are compelled to scale back production to avert losses. Additionally, it’s crucial to monitor the impact of backhaul orders’ sale prices on domestic module prices. Turning to the demand side, overseas module inventory remains elevated, coupled with sluggish purchasing demand.

The customer demand for modules is heading into the off-season. Furthermore, the demand for distributed PV installations is struggling to turn positive due to overall weak demand. Faced with weak downstream demand, module manufacturers are adopting a strategy of lowering prices to facilitate more shipments, driven by the imperative to clear inventory by year-end. In summary, module prices are anticipated to experience a slight decline this week.

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PV Industry Supply Chain Price Update

According to EnergyTrend, the New Energy Research Center under TrendForce, as of October 23, 2023, the prices for various photovoltaic materials and components have experienced changes:

For Polysilicon:

  • Mono Recycled Polysilicon in RMB (Renminbi) dropped to RMB 72/KG, a decrease of 10%.
  • Mono Grade Polysilicon in RMB decreased from RMB 78/KG to RMB 70/KG, a 10.26% decline.
  • N-Type Polysilicon was quoted at RMB 78/KG, with a minor change of -15.22%.
  • Polysilicon outside China was priced at US$20.55/KG.

For Wafer:

  • M10 Mono Wafer in RMB were quoted at RMB 2.4/Pc, marking an 11.11% decrease; the latest pricing in USD was US$0.299/Pc, down by 11.01% from the previous US$0.336/Pc.
  • G12 Mono Wafer in RMB were priced at RMB 3.4/Pc, showing a 5.56% decrease; the latest pricing in USD was US$0.422/Pc, a 5.59% drop.
  • Since October 23rd, new N-Type M10 Mono Wafer was quoted at RMB 2.5/Pc.

For Cell:

  • M10 Mono PERC Cell in RMB was priced at RMB 0.51/W, marking a 10.53% decrease; the USD pricing was US$0.065/W, down by 11.64% from the previous US$0.073/W.
  • G12 Mono PERC Cell in RMB was quoted at RMB 0.53/W, representing a significant decrease of 10.17% from RMB 0.59/W; the latest USD price was US$0.067/W, showing an 11.84% decline.
  • M10 TOPCon Cells in RMB decreased from RMB 0.6/W to RMB 0.52/W, down by 13.33%.

For Modules:

  • The price for 182mm facial Mono PERC Module was RMB 1.15/W, a 4.17% reduction from the previous week.
  • Both 210mm facial Mono PERC Module and 182mm facial Mono PERC Module were quoted at RMB 1.16/W, with a change of 4.13%.
  • The price for 210mm facial Mono PERC Module was RMB 1.17/W.

PV Glass prices were reported as follows:

  • 2.0mm Coating was priced at RMB 20/㎡.
  • 3.2mm Coating was priced at RMB 28/㎡.

Please note that this information is sourced from EnergyTrend and should be credited if used or referenced.


Surge in Production Demand for Solar N-Type Cells Observed as Battery Technology Evolution Accelerates, Says TrendForce

Leveraging the superior conversion efficiency of N-type cells, the rise of cost-effective TOPCon cell technology in 2022 has seen N-type cell technology rapidly expand, inviting many solar industry participants into the competition. Currently, PERC cell technology (for producing P-type cells) stands as the market’s mainstay. However, with the step-by-step realization of large-scale N-type cell capacities, there looms a risk that a substantial part of PERC cell technology capacities may be phased out within the forthcoming two to three years. Concurrently, based on TrendForce’s analysis, as N-type cell capacities incrementally come online, there might be a sporadic shortage of high-quality silicon materials and wafers tailored for N-type cells. This could further establish a noticeable price disparity between N-type silicon and wafers, and their P-type counterparts.

Silicon supply remains abundant, but the price gap between P-type and N-type continues to widen

By 2023’s end, it is projected that the total production capacity of polysilicon will reach 2.072 million tons, an increase of 68.6% YoY. The actual output of silicon materials is expected to be about 1.483 million tons, sufficient to support over 600 GW of solar panel consumption (given a silicon consumption rate of 0.245 tons/GW). This aligns with an annual installation demand of approximately 370-390 GW, indicating a clear oversupply of silicon. As the market leans towards N-type cell technology, P-type silicon may face oversupply, causing its price to drop faster. Conversely, robust demand and limited output for N-type silicon might create periodic shortages, stabilizing its price. For silicon firms, N-type silicon offers better profitability.

Surging demand for N-type cell slices drives silicon wafer makers to swiftly pivot

By the end of 2023, silicon wafer production capacity is projected to reach approximately 921.6 GW, reflecting a 64.2% year-on-year growth. Driven by the increasing demand for N-type cell wafers, silicon wafer manufacturers are rapidly transitioning to N-type production and ramping up their output. With the inclusion of rectangular silicon wafers occupying a portion of this capacity, certain dimensions of P-type wafers might experience short-term supply shortages, potentially failing to meet immediate demands. If the N-type cell rollout falls short of expectations, there remains a risk of N-type wafer oversupply. Additionally, amid intensified industry competition and considering factors such as technological prowess, availability of high-purity quartz sand, and consistent supply of top-quality silicon wafers, leading companies like Longi and CMC are set to further elevate their competitive edge.

N-cell capacity deployment sees delays; PERC tech likely to remain dominant this year

The projected total wafer capacity by 2023’s end is estimated to reach around 1,172 GW, marking a 106% increase year-on-year. The majority of this newly added capacity is attributed to N-type TOPCon cell technology. By the end of the year, N-type wafer capacity is expected to reach 676 GW, accounting for 57.7% of the total. However, TrendForce has observed some delays in the actual deployment of N-type cell capacity. Given the existing price difference between N-P type wafers, PERC technology is anticipated to retain its leading position in the market this year, although the penetration rate of TOPCon cells will accelerate.

China expected to hold 80–85% of global solar panel capacity in 2023

Estimations for 2023 indicate that the worldwide solar panel capacity could reach an astounding 1,034 GW, marking a 64.7% increase year-on-year. Of this, approximately 335.4 GW represents newly added capacity, predominantly driven by Chinese enterprises. With Western countries and India progressively launching policies supporting local manufacturing, a growing number of Chinese firms are contemplating setting up production capacities overseas to sidestep trade barriers. TrendForce reports leading Chinese solar panel manufacturers like Longi, JinkoSolar, JA Solar, and TrinaSolar have successively expanded their operations to areas including the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Given the matured technology and cost-effective production of Chinese manufacturers and considering the nascent state of the solar supply chains overseas and the elevated costs of expansion, it remains challenging for enterprises from other regions to join the competition. As such, TrendForce believes that the global competitive landscape for solar panels won’t see any marked changes in the near term, maintaining China’s dominant position with an anticipated 80-85% capacity share in 2023.


210mm modules accumulated shipments reached 76GW, 600W+ modules experiencing explosive growth

TrendForce, the independent new energy research agency, forecasts that capacity for 210mm products will reach 57% in 2023. The penetration of 600W+ high-power modules is clearly accelerating, setting a distinct direction for both the industry chain and market.

As technology iteration is an essential force in driving industry development, an increasing number of module makers are now producing 210mm modules, marching into the 600W+ era.

More than 80% of module makers deploy 210mm technology as 600W+ high-power modules become a global standard

The 600W+ is now dominating major PV exhibitions around the world. 75% of the 600W+ products showcased by mainstream module makers at RE+2022 were fitted with 210mm wafers, demonstrating the advantage of the 210mm technology, and 30 companies had more than 40 600W products on display at Intersolar South America at the end of August. A similar pattern was seen at Intersolar Europe and SNEC.

According to TrendForce, more than 52 module makers (>80%) worldwide can now produce 210mm products. As indicated by TrendForce, capacity of large-sized modules has continued to expand this year, and new capacity is compatible with sizes of up to 210mm. Because of the extensive compatibility of 210mm cell and module technology, cutting-edge technologies such as TOPCon and HJT could be adopted, and module power output is likely to reach 700W+ soon.

Trina Solar, as the first mover of 210mm modules, recently put 210mm n-type capacity into mass production, reinforcing the company’s competitiveness with next-generation n-type cell technology. The refinement in 210mm products and n-type technology will further improve efficiency and cut costs.

Accumulated shipment of 210mm modules reached 50GW in first nine months of 2022

The production of 210mm modules is growing rapidly as the downstream high-power module market flourishes. In the first nine months of the year 50GW of 210mm cell modules were shipped. More than 76GW of such modules has been shipped as of third quarter 2022, and shipments were expected to accelerate in the last three months of 2022.

210mm module capacity to reach 57% by 2023

As indicated by TrendForce, large-sized modules (182mm and 210mm) are estimated to account for 512GW of capacity during 2022 at a ratio of 83%, of which 210mm capacity accounts for 287GW at 46%, representing year-on-year growth of 16%. Large-sized modules (182mm and 210mm), with their successive completion in capacity deployment next year, will occupy 89% of ratio then, and 210mm modules are likely to dominate, with estimated capacity of 466GW at 57%.

TrendForce forecasts that capacity of 210mm modules will continue to surge in 2023 and reach 66.04% by 2025, when 182mm module capacity will fall to 30%. In terms of wafers and cells, shipments of large-sized variations will continue to climb and dominate the market. New highs in global shipments of 210mm can be expected in the near future.

600W+ modules supreme in all-scenario for both utility and non-utility plants

High-power modules are widely used because of their superior LCOE and BOS costs. According to TrendForce, 600W+ high-power modules are becoming the trend in power stations, with 210mm technology seen as the first choice in making their 600W+ modules, which can reduce LCOE by up to 4.1%.

600W+ modules are yielding compatible solutions by adapting to different installation environments and projects that include ground-mounted power stations and distributed settings.

600W+ high-power modules lead the way as they deliver low LCOE

Low LCOE has been an ultimate target for the industry chain, and 600W+ modules that are equipped with high power, high efficiency, high energy yield, and high reliability can effectively reduce LCOE. Comparing 600W+ modules and 500W+ modules, the former have increased power output by 125-130W and increased module efficiency by 0.3-0.5%. 600W+ modules are also superior in energy yield, evidenced in test by their increase of 1.51~2.1% in single watt power generation. In addition, in five rigorous tests, 600W+ modules were proven to retain their highly reliable performance even in extreme climates.

Trina Solar, a pioneer in 210mm cell technology, has demonstrated to the market its solid strength and capability in the 600W+ field. As of third quarter 2022, Trina Solar has shipped 40GW 210mm modules, ranking first in the industry, with a total of 120GW of global modules shipments since its foundation.

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