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Unprecedented demand drives solar wafer prices up

In a recent announcement on August 24th, the Silicon Industry Branch of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association disclosed the latest weekly prices for silicon wafers, revealing a sustained upward trend in prices.

The average transaction price for M10 mono wafers (182mm/150μm) rose to CNY 3.36 per piece, marking a week-on-week increase of 6.67%. Similarly, n-type mono wafers (182mm/130μm) reached an average transaction price of CNY 3.45 per piece, up 5.83%. Meanwhile, the average transaction price for G12 mono wafers (210mm/150μm) remained stable at CNY 4.35 per piece, up 3.57%.

The continuous increase in wafer prices is attributed to leading companies raising their quotations, subsequently prompting other companies to follow suit. As of this week, the majority of cell producers have accepted the current prices.

“The primary driver for the price hike is the unexpectedly high PV installation scale, which has led to increased demand,” commented Wang Tieshan, Director of the Industry Development and Investment Research Center at Xi’an Engineering University.

He noted that the first half of this year witnessed a decline in polysilicon and wafer prices. This decline stimulated a surge in PV system installations, resulting in rapid growth in installed capacity, surpassing previous expectations. This surge in installation drove up the demand for wafers, leading to a price rebound.

China’s National Energy Administration data indicates that from January to July this year, China’s newly added PV installations reached 97.2 GW, a year-on-year increase of 158%. In July alone, 18.7 GW were added, marking a 174% year-on-year increase and a 9% month-on-month increase.

In fact, the continuous rise in wafer prices was within the market’s expectations.

On August 23rd, the Silicon Industry Branch disclosed the latest prices for solar-grade polysilicon, indicating that n-type material was transacted at prices ranging from CNY 84 to 93 per kg, averaging at CNY 89.1 per kg, a week-on-week increase of 5.32%. Different types of p-type polysilicon have also witnessed a price rise of over 3.21%.

This marks the sixth increase in polysilicon prices and the eighth price hike for n-type material since July. The increase makes a price hike in the wafer sector inevitable.

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