Tight Raw Material Supply Pushing Up PV Module Prices

Solar Module Prices In Chinese Bidding Rounds Going Up Significantly As Raw Material Shortage Disrupts Supply Chain
10:50 PM (Beijing Time) - 03. March 2021
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Key Takeaways

  • Chinese auctions in the recent times have seen module prices going up by 10% to 15%
  • JinkoSolar believes the short supply isn’t likely to ease any time soon hence prices may further go up by an additional 5% in Q2/2021
  • The company sees the short supply to last for a minimum of another 6 months

Solar module prices are rising by the day in China thanks to the tight supply of critical raw materials as PV glass, polysilicon and silver. In recent auctions conducted in China by China Huadian Corporation, CNNC Nanjing and China Longyuan, solar module suppliers have quoted as much as 10% to 15% increase in the panel prices.

The highest bid was even more than RMB 1.8 per W and the prices of first-tier enterprises 500W+ panels are basically concentrated at RMB 1.75 per W, according to the released information.

And since the raw material shortage in the near term isn’t likely to resolve, we are worried that  panel prices may go up further in Q2/2021 by an additional 5%, said Dany Qian, VP at JinkoSolar.

The company lists some factors for this raw material supply chain issues including a boom for bifacial solar panels that led to a major increase in solar glass demand (for background on bifacial solar technology, register for our BifacialSolar Conference on March 4 here).

Dany said this continued short supply, expected to last a minimum of 6 months more, may send the module prices soaring in the near future.

Back in November 2020, Chinese PV market intelligence firm PV InfoLink said average glass prices of 3.2mm coated glass increased from RMB 30 per m² in September 2020 to RMB 42 per m² in November 2020. At the time, the analysts said PV glass prices are expected to remain high until Q1/2021.

As module manufacturers see their profits shrinking in the view of customers not accepting price increases, some of them have been lowering their utilization rates or even halted production due to a glass shortage, according to PV InfoLink.

In recent months, the market leaders and many other glass companies announced expansion of their production capacities, while the big module manufacturers signed supply contracts (see Flat Glass Bags 59 GW Solar Glass Deal With JinkoSolar).

“Factoring in the time required for upgrading furnaces for larger format glass, PV glass is likely to remain in short, with large format glass capacity forecasting to sit at 40-50 GW at the end of 2021. In other words, limited glass capacity will become the hiccup in the development of large format modules,” stated PV InfoLink.

In a recent report BloombergNEF increased its demand forecast for 2021, anticipating a minimum of 160 MW and up to 209 MW solar PV capacity to come online. BloombergNEF said as raw material supply eases with new capacity coming online, there will be plenty of module capacity in the market as prices drop to about $0.19 per W for standard modules based on 166mm wafers with larger format modules commanding a premium in markets without punitive trade tariffs (see BloombergNEF Forecasts 160 GW New Solar PV Build In 2021).

 

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani