Continued strong demand from customers in Germany, Japan as well as China have forced PV Crystalox Solar to increase projected shipments of solar wafers for the first half of 2010. The wafer producer expected shipments to be in the 155-160MW range, compared to its earlier forecast of 145-155MW, an increase of 11%. The company is also benefiting from stable pricing and continued cost reductions at wafering and polysilicon production plants, reiterating reduced wafer production costs of 10-15% during the year, which will positively impact margins.
PV Crystalox also noted a shift in regional demand. Although Japan remains its biggest market, China is increasingly becoming a major market for the wafer producer as approximately 50% of PV modules are now manufactured in the country. The company noted that China has become its second-largest geographic market, having overtaken Europe in the first half of the year.
The company reiterated polysilicon production targets with full production (1,800MT) at its plant in Bitterfeld in 2011. The plant had reached having reached a total output of 153MT at the end of 2009.
According to Titus Menzies, financial analyst at Libertas Capital, PV Crystalox is benefiting from lower production costs that are alleviating some of the margin pressure as wafer prices fell approximately 10% in the first quarter.
Menzies calculated that PV Crystalox’s silicon usage is 6.8g/w, and its blended polysilicon cost for 2010 is expected to be €39/kg (vs spot of €40 or $52/kg) and €27/kg or $35/kg by year end 2011.