Solar glass manufacturers expecting slide in prices after record-breaking 2020

By Carrie Xiao
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Solar glass provider profits topped US$1.25 billion in 2020, PV Tech analysis shows. Image: Almaden/Trina Solar.

Manufacturers of solar glass are expecting average selling prices to fall over the course of 2021 as more capacity comes onstream, but high prices last year helped send profits soaring.

Analysis conducted by PV Tech of financial results of glass providers such as Xinyi Solar, Flat Glass Luoyang Glass found that revenues and profits soared year-on-year, with Luoyang in particular recording a six-fold increase in net profit.

Xinye Solar, the market leader in solar glass, recorded a 35% jump in revenue to RMB103.99 billion (US$15.8 billion) last year, contributing to a near 89% leap in net profit to RMB38.4 billion (US$5.86 billion).

Most solar glass manufacturers notched record-breaking fiscal performances in 2020 as solar glass prices jumped as demand outstripped supply. Going into H2 2021, however, prices are expected to fall back below RMB30 (US$4.58) per ton from a current high of around RMB43 per ton.

The full analysis of solar glass manufacturing in 2020 is available for PV Tech Premium subscribers here. For details on how to subscribe to PV Tech Premium and a full list of member benefits, click here.

Supply chain constraints, particularly around solar glass and polysilicon, have arisen since the latter half of last year with demand for raw materials spiking as greater solar wafer, cell and module assembly capacity comes onstream. In November last year major module manufacturers lobbied for the Chinese government to intervene claiming prices for solar-grade glass were “out of control” after more than doubling in four months. At the time, some small-scale module suppliers were said to have been quoted prices as high as RMB50/ton.

It prompted a suite of new policies aimed at bringing new capacity online to address the shortfall, however in the short-term supply is expected to remain constrained and, as a result, solar module prices have begun to creep upward.

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