China sees surge in demand for photovoltaic installations

TRENDFORCE research projects more growth in photovoltaic installations with demand in China surging in Q2 2015.

According to EnergyTrend’s PV Gold Report, the total amount of PV installed worldwide in 2015 will reach 51.4GW. The Asia-Pacific region will continue to lead the world in the amount of PV installed, accounting for 60 % of installations in 2015.

China in particular will represent 35 % of world’s PV market, with an estimated installed capacity at 17.8GW. This means that changes in demands in China will have an outsized influence on the price movements in the PV industry.

In the second quarter of 2015, China’s PV market has stabilised, so the general decline in the prices of photovoltaic technology will end. The amount of orders for the downstream sector has picked up since the start of April, and the noticeable increases in orders also indicates rising prices for photovoltaics.

In terms of technology, there is a visible rise in the demand for high-efficiency products, which now represent around 50 % of the total PV market demand. Moreover, multi-Si cells with 17.8 % efficiency have become the mainstream in the second quarter.

The prices of polysilicon are unlikely to rise in the second quarter, and demands will determine whether the prices will stabilise or keep falling. This is because polysilicon manufacturers in the upstream sector have overcome their respective production bottlenecks and will be expanding their capacities, thus making the feedstock plentiful.

While there is strong demand for high quality wafers from the downstream sector, the prices for wafers will will be determined by whether the prices for polysilicon will continue to fall.

Spot prices for polysilicon and wafer in March have dropped to levels not seen since Europe implemented tariffs on PV imports in 2011 and the US taking similar measures in 2012. Wafer manufactures thus hope prices will stabilize as demands pick up. Presently, the declines in multi-Si wafers are starting to ease.

Cell costs are not likely to fall yet, as cell manufacturers hold back on any price reductions pending conclusions from market observations. However, downstream companies face significantly reduced risks as feed-in tariff programs around the world become more well-defined. This will further increase demands for PV cells. – Ferret