China solar cell prices hit record lows

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Solar cell prices in China fell to their lowest values ever according to OPIS data. Mono M10 and Mono G12 cells both dipped more than 3% to $0.0865/W and $0.0856/W respectively, while TOPCon M10 cells notched 0.41% downwards to $0.0965/W.

The weak module market is largely to blame for cell price decreases, according to one source. Module plants without their own cell capacity have applied “many strategies to reduce production,” the source said. Mono PERC and TOPCon module prices are also at record lows, according to OPIS data.

Given that cell prices have fallen significantly, discussions are raging about whether cell makers will cut production. Some small makers are planning to halt operations over China’s Golden Week holiday at the start of October, reflecting a dim outlook for the cell market and marking a decline in cell output, an insider explained.

Others disagreed. If cell production is to fall, there should only be a slight decrease, a different source argued. “The overproduction of cells is not as bad relative to the entire supply chain,” the source said, referring to overproduction in the polysilicon, wafer and module segments.

For another source, lowering prices is the strategy by which cell makers maintain 100% operating rates. Whether the cell segment will cut output is strongly influenced by the rate at which wafer supply is growing and the manufacturing strategy of module manufacturers, he said.

“The decrease in module production may unavoidably compel a decrease in cell production by the end of October and the beginning of November,” the source also said, adding that end-users will reduce module purchasing orders because they have already arranged enough supply to support year-end solar installations.

OPIS, a Dow Jones company, provides energy prices, news, data, and analysis on gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, LPG/NGL, coal, metals, and chemicals, as well as renewable fuels and environmental commodities. It acquired pricing data assets from Singapore Solar Exchange in 2022 and now publishes the OPIS APAC Solar Weekly Report.

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