PV InfoLink Lowers Global Module Demand Forecast For 2020

PV InfoLink: Tight Polysilicon Supply & COVID-19 Resurgence Risks In Europe, US, Japan, South Korea & Middle East To Push Down 2020 Solar Installations; Lowers Global Solar Module Demand Forecast To 117.1 GW
07:01 PM (Beijing Time) - 03. September 2020

According to PV InfoLink, global solar module demand forecast for 2020 is likely to add up to a total of 117.1 GW, down from its previous estimates of 121.5 GW. This will be spread out to under 30 GW in Q1 and Q2, and between 30 GW to 40 GW in Q3 and Q4. (Source: PV InfoLink)

Key Takeaways

  • PV InfoLink has once again lowered its annual PV module demand forecast for 2020 to 117.1 GW, down from what it says its previous forecast was at 121.5 GW
  • It fears resurgence of COVID-19 in some geographies outside China and tight polysilicon supply pushing up upstream prices that is forcing module makers to cut production and developers waiting out the time to install projects
  • For China, PV InfoLink has revised downward its forecast from 43.5 GW to 41 GW

PV InfoLink has confirmed fears of decreasing solar PV demand becoming the first solar PV market intelligence firm to lower its annual forecast for global solar module demand in 2020. It cited short supply of polysilicon in the market pushing up module prices, thereby stalling installations this year (see Flood Warning Halts Tongwei’s Polysilicon Production).

Analysts at PV InfoLink say they have revised down their forecast for global module demand for 2020 from 121.5 GW to 117.1 GW, ‘somewhat lower than last year’s level’. Even for China, it has lowered its full-year guidance a little from 43.5 GW to 41 GW, and the Chinese demand for unsubsidized projects to 7 GW for 2020.

Module demand during remaining 2 quarters of this year may remain stable instead of growing on quarterly basis as PV projects in China and abroad a scheduled to come online after 2020 may be postponed for installation causing module demand to shrink. COVID-19 remains on the radar of the analysts who factor in risks of the virus’ resurgence in Europe, the US, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East in the revised module demand forecast.

Rapid increase in polysilicon prices has been pushing up solar wafer and cell prices forcing some module makers to cut production. They explain, “The impact of diminished module production is penetrating upstream to the cell segment, which is also dealing with rising wafer prices.” All these factors are contributing to increased module prices.

“In response to growing costs Chinese module makers have raised their price quotes by RMB 0.1 and RMB 0.2 ($0.015 to $0.029) per W to RMB 1.6 to RMB 1.7 ($0.23 to $0.25) per W. The trading prices for M6-based mono PERC modules has recently climbed to RMB 1.55 to RMB 1.65 ($0.23 to $0.24) per W, but there are only a handful of other deals booked with price increases,” PV InfoLink explains. “If module prices top RMB 1.6 per W, it will pose a huge obstacle two unsubsidized projects for which investments are strictly controlled and are not subject to commissioning deadline.”

PV InfoLink believes in September 2020 Chinese polysilicon factories are likely to run at near-full capacity and with other non-Chinese producers contributing to global supply, there ‘won’t be much increase in mono-grade polysilicon prices.’

Things should get better with new cell production lines coming online, cell prices should start to decline at the end of Q3/2020.

PV InfoLink has been lowering its annual global solar module demand for 2020 since the start of this year before it upped it in the summer. In February 2020, even as China suffered the most due to COVID-19, its forecast remained firm at 134.3 GW, lowering to 129.1 GW it shared during a TaiyangNews webinar in early March 2020, and further down to 108.8 GW in May 2020 in a neutral scenario after the pandemic outbreak (see PV InfoLink Lowers 2020 Solar Demand To 108.8 GW). Now it says it has revised the forecast from 121.5 GW to 117.1 GW.


Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani