Solar wafer prices plummet, amid high inventory and low profit dominating the market


From pv magazine Global

FOB China prices for wafers have experienced a widespread decline for the third consecutive week, underscoring the prevalent oversupply in the market. Mono PERC M10 and n-type M10 wafer prices decreased noticeably by 9.79% and 10.53% week to week, reaching $0.212 per piece (pc) and $0.204/pc, respectively.

Similarly, Mono PERC G12 and n-type G12 wafer prices also dropped by 3.93% and 7.73% week to week at $0.318/pc and 0.334/pc, respectively.

According to OPIS’ market survey, the prices of Mono PERC M10 and n-type M10 wafers in the Chinese domestic market have fallen to approximately CNY1.70 ($0.24)/pc and CNY1.63/pc, respectively. “The prevailing price of wafers is resulting in considerable financial losses for wafer companies,” said an upstream source.

As per another market participant, certain wafer producers had initially assessed the bottom price for M10 wafers to be around CNY1.9/pc according to the production cost, and abstained from selling below this mark in March. This strategy proved to be flawed, leading to a significant buildup of wafer inventory. Consequently, they now find themselves compelled to sell wafers at even lower prices to regain some cash flow, the source explained.

A prominent wafer producer agreed, highlighting that sales representatives are currently on the move, visiting various locations to actively nurture and expand customer relationships.

The wafer market currently has an inventory level equivalent to approximately two to three weeks’ worth of production, according to a market watcher. The discussions surrounding the plan of wafer factories to reduce production over the past two weeks have yielded results this week. Multiple sources have confirmed that the majority of specialized wafer factories have implemented varying degrees of production cuts.

An insider within the polysilicon market has conveyed a relatively positive outlook, suggesting that with the decrease in wafer production and the gradual rollout of ground-mounted solar projects in China during April and May, the high wafer inventory may experience some relief by the end of April.

Another notable aspect of the current wafer market is the variety of sizes available, OPIS observed from its market survey. Wafers sized at 183.75 mm are being explored based on the M10 182 mm standard. Additionally, sources indicate the emergence of rectangular wafers sized at 182 mm x 210 mm, named 210R, gaining popularity in the market.

Amidst severe oversupply and intense competition, a market participant noted that exploring the production of differentiated products has been the alternative strategy of wafer producers, aiming to prolong their participation in this survival-of-the-fittest competition.

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.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect those held by pv magazine.

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