PV module price declines continue

16. August 2012 | Markets & Trends | By:  Becky Beetz

Photovoltaic module prices have fallen by more than 2% in July and 44% year-on-year, according to the latest figures from IMS Research. August is predicted to see a slight increase, however.

General solar photovoltaic module

Photovoltaic module prices have still not stabilized.

The U.K-based research company says that while module prices went through a short period of stability in June on the back of high demand in Germany and Italy, they have once again declined.

It has found that average prices for crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules purchased by distributors rose 3% in June. However, July saw them slip by 2.5% following Germany’s June 30 feed-in tariff deadline, combined with "bleak" European demand forecasts.

According to the IHS iSuppli Module Price Index, at the end of June Tier 1 Chinese suppliers were, on average, selling product at around US$0.771/Wp. Tier 2 and Tier 3 players, meanwhile, were selling at $0.726/Wp and $0.710/Wp, respectively. Furthermore, in July, the company said it expected prices to fall to €0.57 (around $0.70) by the end of the year for Chinese Tier 1 and 2 modules.

On the back of the latest figures, module prices from western suppliers are said to have fallen most markedly in July, at over 5%, while those from Tier1 Chinese players declined by almost 3%, continued IMS Research. Specifically, Sam Wilkinson, senior analyst of the company’s PV Group, told pv magazine  average c-Si Chinese Tier 1 prices direct from suppliers were $0.81/Wp. "Supply of PV modules still far exceeds demand, and suppliers are continuing to engage in fierce price competition," he added.

While the month of August is expected to see a slight increase – 0.3% – in prices for industry buyers and sellers, suppliers and integrators forecast a small decrease, and distributors, a minor increase.

"PV module suppliers’ margins are already dangerously low and in some cases negative, and their ability to lower prices any further is severely limited until they can make significant improvements to their cost structures," concluded Wilkinson.

IMS Research declined to provide any concrete figures.

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