Solar panel price: Further drop expected in 2017

1/9/17, 11:30 AM -

Solar panel price: Due to overcapacities and technological progress a further price decline in Europe is expected. B solar modules are already offered below 30 eurocents per watt, standard solar modules for less than 40 eurocents per watt.

Solar panel price: Oversupply and technological progress is driving fall of prices of imported and European solar modules.
Solar panel price: Oversupply and technological progress is driving fall of prices of imported and European solar modules.

Due to overcapacities, all global markets are currently seeing an acceleration in decreasing solar panels prices, Wouter Vermeersch, General Manager of Cleantec Trade says. The wholesaler and service provider is based in Flanders/Belgium and Hongkong and operates a central warehouse for Asian solar panels in Rotterdam/Netherlands.

Increasingly smaller impact of the MIP

“The price decline on the European market is also caused by the fact that more Chinese Tier 1 manufacturers have increased production from their ‘tariff free’ factories outside China. The increasingly smaller impact of the minimum import price (MIP), has thus resulted in an additional price cut”, Vermeersch adds.

Price decrease on a broad front

According to Thomas Heintges, General Manager of wholesaler and installer HPV Solar (Willich/Germany) solar modules are available for below 40 cents/watt (net). “We don`t have to buy through importers, we get them free loaded on truck”, Heintges says. He sees a price decline already since several months and expects that the falling of prices will continue. Other installers are reporting net prices of below 30 cents per watt for Chinese B modules, Asian made modules for around 40 cents per watt. German made Tier-1 modules for example from Heckert Solar are offered for 43 cents per watt. Glass-glass modules are traded around 10-15 percent more expensive. According to Photovoltaik Forum in the first week of January average net prices of polysilicon modules dropped by up to 0,56 percent, thin-film modules by up to 0,53 percent.

More cost effective high-efficiency modules

Martin Schachinger from B2B trading platform pvXchange draws attention to the importance of technological progress for price reductions especially of high-efficiency modules. Due to the widespread adoption of PERC and PERT technology in the European and Asian solar modules production they can be equipped with cost effective polycrystalline cells. So far 270 to 280 watt modules were equipped with more expensive monocrystalline cells. Therefore Schachinger also sees a possible further price drop especially for high-efficiency modules. In November 2016 they have been traded on the European spot market for average 59 cents per watt, a price decline of 1,7 percent compared to October.

Continued oversupply expected

Most market participants expect a further fall in prices for modules in 2017, though how low they will go remains to be seen. “Duration of oversupply and panel price pressure remains unclear. Several companies have indicated that oversupply may last for six to nine months. Although this is depending on several factors: increasing demand, evolution capacity, potential consolidation of tier 2 and 3 players, and further cost reductions”, Veermersch says.

Record low bidding tariff of 1,73 Euro/MWh in Denmark

The recent Danish cross boarder auction for solar parks already set a new mark. Three subsidiaries of Pure & Better Energy A/S have been awarded a tariff in the Danish in a European record low price of 12,89 Danish Krone per MWh (1,73 Euro/MWh), in addition to the average market tariff of 22,5 Danish Krone/MWh (3 Euro/MWh), for a total of 20 MW. This adds up to around 5,73 Eurocents/kWh. (HCN).

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