Silicon prices on downturn

Prices for polysilicon and wafers as well as for solar cells and modules continue to fall at a rapid pace, according to consistent reports from various market observers. Taiwanese market research company InfoLink Consulting quotes »official« prices below the 200 renminbi yuan (RMB, USD 29.2) per kilogram mark for early January. Other sources quote even significantly lower prices. With well-stocked inventory, leading manufacturers continue to report high capacity utilization, according to InfoLink, but less established companies (»Tier 2« and »Tier 3«) are currently struggling to get any orders at all.
For wafers (182 mm edge length, 150 micron material thickness), InfoLink calculated an average price of RMB 3.9 (57 cents) on Jan. 4, down 21.2 percent in just one week, amid »chaotic« declines. However, the price declines are expected to slow down and end soon.
For solar cells (M10 and M12 format), prices were the equivalent of 10.7 to 11.3 cents per watt, down 15 percent week-over-week. Higher prices are being paid for solar cells based on n-type silicon, with large-format (G12) heterojunction (HJT) cells fetching 18.7 to 19.7 cents per watt. Most cell manufacturers plan to run at only 70 to 80 percent of their manufacturing capacity in the near term, according to InfoLink. For solar modules, InfoLink determined prices of 26.3 to 27.8 cents per watt for February delivery dates. Modules with G12 HJT cells are trading for 29.2 to 32.2 cents. For sales of modules with »TOPCon« cells in »overseas markets« such as Europe and the U.S., InfoLink quotes trading prices of 24 to 25 cents per watt.

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