PV market eyes recovery amid falling module prices

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The atmosphere was upbeat at the recent Intersolar Europe trade show and The smarter E Europe event in Munich, Germany, despite high hotel prices due to the ongoing UEFA football championship. Most of the halls were well attended. Exhibitors appeared to be pleased with the trade fair, but football was omnipresent, with matches playing on monitors at every stand. Events were also scheduled around the Germany vs. Hungary match.

However, beneath the positive mood lie significant challenges for the PV industry. Demand hasn’t rebounded this year – a reality reflected by declining installation figures in Germany. Module prices, especially for passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC) and tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) technologies, have seen slight decreases, indicating an ongoing supply-demand imbalance.

Despite efforts, there’s an oversupply of modules flooding the European market, including cutting-edge designs. Analysts attribute this to Chinese products facing pricing challenges in some markets, while Asian markets struggle with low sales prices, aiming to clear excess inventory. Many large manufacturers may scale back expansion, with smaller players expected to exit the market soon.

The markets for inverters and storage systems face similar challenges, with a flood of Asian manufacturers dominating the sector at The Smarter E. Commercial and industrial (C&I) solutions were prominent, underscoring potential to meet energy needs with tailored storage solutions. Manufacturers are offering extensive support, including seminars and promotional campaigns, in order to boost market adoption.

The outlook remains positive, with anticipated market growth in the second half of the year, buoyed by supportive policies such as the “Solarpacket 1” measures in Germany.

Prices in June 2024, including changes from the previous month (as of June 24).

Image: pvXchange

About the author: Martin Schachinger has studied electrical engineering and has been active in the field of photovoltaics and renewable energy for almost 30 years. In 2004, he set up the pvXchange.com online trading platform. The company stocks standard components for new installations and solar modules and inverters that are no longer being produced.

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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