Following a sustained stretch of severe declines from February 2012 through the end of the year, solar polysilicon pricing has stabilized in early 2013, with prices steady in April and early May, and expected to rise slightly during the following months.
Average polysilicon prices are set to stay at $20.40 for March and April, according to the IHS iSuppli Photovoltaic service at information and analytics provider IHS. Average pricing during the next three months will rise to $20.50.
The stabilization and increase in pricing comes despite two looming trade disputes—the China polysilicon and European Union/China solar trade issues. Delays in the EU’s decision on the dispute have actually boosted pricing, as demand weakens in Europe.
Trade dispute helping prices
The decision involving the Chinese polysilicon antidumping trade dispute has been delayed twice and is now scheduled for some time in late April. The reason behind this delay, IHS believes, is that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce is trying to win some time for itself in an effort to consult further with the European Union on trade disputes—not just on the ongoing solar quarrel but also on other matters involving glass and communications gear.
However, this delay has been helpful in stabilizing polysilicon prices. The EU/China solar dispute will have more impact on polysilicon short-term price trends by exerting pressure on spot poly prices in China, with weaker demand from the EU end market caused by the solar dispute itself.
The impact of the trade dispute on pricing will curb demand from Europe and force prices to loosen for midstream products such as wafers and cells. Polysilicon prices from Chinese suppliers eventually will be forced to decline following the run-up at the start of the year. Meanwhile, some imported polysilicon with better quality is actually cheaper than those with from Chinese suppliers—another reason why Chinese suppliers will have to lower their prices eventually.
Even so, a potential cut in feed-in tariffs (FIT) in China may curb any anticipated price deceleration as consumers feel encouraged to adopt solar installations in the short term before the FIT policy goes into effect. For now, however, the FIT will be cut less than previously claimed, meaning that the impact on pricing won’t be certain. But as this is expected to happen shortly, it will indeed help pricing and adoption in the near term.
Read more >> Chinese Supplier Prices Fall as Decision is Delayed