Solar cell prices hold steady as market weighs feasibility of increasing prices

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Solar cell FOB China prices have stayed unchanged, with not much real trading taking place as price negotiations for orders delivered in March are still ongoing. Mono PERC M10 and G12 cell prices trended flat at $0.0482 per W and $0.0473/W, respectively, while TOPCon M10 cell prices remained constant at $0.0584/W week to week.

According to a market participant, neither the supply nor the demand for cells has changed significantly as of right now. What will be clearer by month-end is the change in operating rates set by cell and module producers, the source added.

A manufacturer that had already sold Mono PERC M10 cells for the high price of CNY0.4 ($0.056)/W prior to the Lunar New Year said that, although they intend to raise prices even more, their ability to do so will depend on how order talks play out over the next two weeks.

Another source from the cell segment is skeptical about whether cell prices will continue to rise, saying that increases are restrained by the present price and potential future price of modules.

The fact that an increase in end-user demand in 2024 cannot be substantial will weigh on cell prices, according to an upstream insider. “The most bullish forecast I've heard so far is that end-user demand would rise by roughly 20% in 2024” compared to 2023, the source added.

Even if prices rise in response to increased demand, only integrated businesses are able to ensure sales volume and profitability, a market observer stated, who went on to say that stand-alone cell producers can only strive for profits by lowering the purchase prices of wafers.

OPIS, a Dow Jones company, provides energy prices, news, data, and analysis on gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, LPG/NGL, coal, metals, and chemicals, as well as renewable fuels and environmental commodities. It acquired pricing data assets from Singapore Solar Exchange in 2022 and now publishes the OPIS APAC Solar Weekly Report.

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