TAIWAN: According to EnergyTrend’s survey, high-efficiency products are still in great demand in the market, which brings hope to the underperforming solar market. But according to related manufacturers, clients are mainly interested in products with conversion efficiencies above 17 percent; products; those with efficiencies below 17 percent are categorized as B-grade products, with prices 30-50 percent lower than those of superior products. EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, believes that it will bring a new challenge to the Taiwanese manufacturers.Source: EnergyTrend, Taiwan.
First, multi-Si solar cell products still account for the majority of Taiwanese solar cell makers’ product line. Due to the fact that a good amount of products’ conversion efficiencies still range between 16.6 percent to 16.9 percent, products with conversion efficiencies higher than 17 percent still make up a relatively small portion of the total production, which the manufacturers’ revenues hinge upon.
Moreover, the price gap between multi-Si and mono-Si solar cell products continues to narrow and the prices of 17 percent (and above) multi-Si and mono-Si solar cell products have become the same. As a result, multi-Si solar cell makers are striving to increase the portion of 17 percent products in order to gain profit.
Moreover, on account of the increasing demand for high-efficiency products, more manufacturers are focusing on the future development of N-type products. However, the migration to N-type products cannot be achieved by a sole manufacturer; it requires joint efforts between wafer, cell and module makers and a thorough plan on equipment installations.
Based on EnergyTrend’s research, N-type product makers are still the minority in the industry, and all of them cover assorted sectors from wafer to module. For this reason, some Taiwanese wafer, cell and module makers have been discussing the possibility of cooperation in order to achieve vertical integration from wafer to module and put the N-type production into action.
As for this week’s spot prices, polysilicon, Si wafer, and solar cell price all remained on a downtrend. However, given that the price-cutting strategy to spur demand did not pan out as expected, manufacturers consider going slow down on the inventory digestion.
Nonetheless, manufacturers’ inventory levels remain high, so whether or not they will take another turn regarding their strategies remains to be seen. Lowest polysilicon price remained at $22/kg, while ASP fell to $24.56/kg, a decrease of 3.91 percent. In terms of Si wafers, lowest multi-Si wafer price remained at $1.05/piece, while mono-Si wafer price was $1.48/piece. This week’s multi-Si wafer ASP dipped 2.58 percent to $1.131/piece; mono-Si wafer ASP fell to $1.585/piece, a decrease of 1.49 percent. The lowest solar cell price was $0.47/Watt, while ASP fell to $0.511/Watt, a 1.35 percent decrease.
In terms of module, PV module ASP fell by 3.5 percent to $0.881/Watt, with the lowest price dipping to $0.68/Watt. Affected by the persisting price downtrend of silicon PV module and First Solar making inroads into the Southeast Asian market, thin film module’s lowest price fell to $0.78/Watt and its ASP dipped to $0.838/Watt, a 1.64 percent decrease.