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TrendForce: Wafer Makers’ Glory Days are Behind Them

29 August 2012 Energy

According to EnergyTrend, the green energy research division of TrendForce, manufacturers are experiencing mediocre market condition where purchase orders plunge, which 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 downturn – aside from the pressure from upstream and downstream players, the price competition among multi-Si 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 US$34.1 million in its solar business; ReneSola suffered from a US$75 million loss; Korean wafer maker Nexolon saw a loss US$60.08 million from 1H12; Taiwan’s Green Energy Technology saw a loss of US$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 US$1.05/piece to US$1.14/piece, with the spot price dropping to US$1.03/piece. As a result, manufacturers are selling at a loss. Looking towards 2H12, with no upswing in sight and the on-going solar trade wars amongst China, the United States, and Europe, 2H12 will see the slump persist and prices continue plunging.

The price downturn lingered, especially in the mono-Si wafer price. Polysilicon spot price dropped to US$18/kg, with ASP sliding to US$20.128/kg, a 1.69% decrease. As for multi-Si wafers, non-standard products remained popular with the prices ranging from US$0.7/piece to US$0.8/piece; as for standard products, ASP came down to US$1.024/piece, a 0.29% 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 multi-Si products – ASP dipped to US$1.321, a 2.72% decrease. Solar cell and modules prices were on a decline as well – currently non-standard products (type B) became the mainstream in the market, which affected standard products’ market share. Cell ASP dropped to US$0.417/Watt, 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 afloat – module ASP fell to US$0.689/Watt, a 2.13% 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 US$0.68/Wat, a 0.87 decrease.


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