Shrinking solar wafer demand sees prices decline further

Price declines have been affecting the whole solar supply chain in China, as demand for upstream materials and wafers continues to decline. Image: LONGi.

Solar manufacturer LONGi revised the price of its M10 and M6 p-type wafers before the end of 2022 with a sharp decline.

Prices for both the 182mm (M10) and 166mm (M6) wafer prices have reached RMB5.4 (US$0.78) and RMB4.54, respectively, a 27% drop from previous prices in both cases.

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The continued decline of wafer prices comes after shrinking demand for wafers, with manufacturers cutting production, according to market research firm InfoLink. It said 210mm wafers prices dropped to RMB6.7.

LONGi had previously revised its wafer prices in late November when it lowered its prices for the first time in almost a year, as shown in the chart below.

LONGi’s latest price update has M6 and M10 wafers dropped 27% from the previous update in November, with prices reaching a low not seen since May 2021.

As wafer prices ended 2022 with an increased decline, there is so far no sign of it stopping, and with the Lunar New Year on the horizon and a resurgence of Covid-19 cases across China, the situation remains complex for manufacturers to decide on their production plans, added InfoLink.

The firm said declining wafer prices have also caused n-type cells and modules to fall, with some TOPCon cell makers selling p-type and n-type cells at a similar price.

According to InfoLink, demand for cells dropped dramatically at the end of 2022 as module manufacturers met their procurement targets for the year.

Moreover, as polysilicon supply increases, demand for it is shrinking in the upstream sector with several manufacturers starting to pile up their inventory.

Cell price declines are even sharper than wafer ones, with RMB0.93-0.95/W (US$0.134-0.137/W) for M6 cells, RMB0.94-0.98/W for M10 cells and RMB0.95-0.98/W for G12 cells as of last week, according to InfoLink.

With falling prices of upstream materials and wafers, module pricing for Q1 2023 in China and for overseas has declined too. According to InfoLink, module prices currently sit at RMB 1.7-1.88/W, with manufacturers expecting a continued price drop for January and February.

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