Prices will continue to fall for the next three months – IHS iSuppli

In its latest assessment of the falling cost of solar modules for October, the experts are holding to that line, but warning that an upsurge in demand will not halt the continuing fall in prices.

IHS says developers in emerging markets are demanding the continually lower prices seen by the main photovoltaic players to maximize their return on investment, and analyst Glenn Gu says the average price per watt of crystalline silicon modules will continue to fall, between 2 and 5% into January 2013.

Gu, senior analyst for photovoltaics at IHS iSuppli also revealed the leading role Germany still plays in the global market when he laid the blame of the worldwide fall in prices seen in October largely at the door of a fall in demand in the country.

"European demand for photovoltaic modules dropped off in October, primarily due to developments in the solar powerhouse of Germany," said Gu. "After photovoltaic system installations surged in September, the German solar market decelerated in October. When combined with weakening conditions in other EU countries, including Greece and Bulgaria, Germany’s slowdown had a major impact on module demand and pricing in the European Union and throughout the world."

The average price per watt fell between 1.9 and 3.5% globally in October with Canada – which enjoyed a price rise of 5.5% – the only exception. Canada now has the world’s most expensive modules, at around US$0.96/W with China, unsurprisingly, at the other end of the scale at just $0.58/W.

U.S. complaints about Chinese imports carry some weight when iSuppli’s figures reveal that prices in the U.S. suffered the steepest fall – some 3.5% to $0.69/W, from $0.71 in September, with IHS fingering Chinese T3 importers as the main drivers, with the price of their exports to the U.S. falling 5% in October.

IHS is predicting the price of Chinese imports to the EU will fall a further 1.1% this month and there will be a steeper drop for Chinese modules sold in the domestic market.