Higher demand for solar modules in Europe, but prices stable

7/19/17, 2:18 PM -

Prices for solar modules have remained largely stable since Intersolar Europe. A shortage though is evident for high capacity modules as well in European products. Several European manufacturers state a higher demand, as pv Europe found out.

EU spot prices of solar modules have been largerly stable compared to May.
EU spot prices of solar modules have been largerly stable compared to May.

The EU spot market price for German as well as Chinese solar modules swinged around 45 Cent per Watt in June according to PVXChange. “Former SolarWorld customers are shifting their purchasing activities in the direction of comparable modules and in the medium term have bought up everything the market has to offer, which is why the modules of some manufacturers will not generally be available again until August or September. Nevertheless, providers remain locked in a fierce price war, preventing the cost of modules from rising, despite a looming bottleneck”, Martin Schachinger from PVXChange says.

Fierce competition among Chinese manufacturers

“In the module sector, largely unknown manufacturers from the cell and wafer business with tier-1 status are rushing into the market. After Talesun and China Sunenergy (CSUN), HT-Solar (HT-SAAE) and especially GCL are making life rough for the established module manufacturers. Now that SolarWorld, one of the last major non-Asian producers, is out of the race, mainly Chinese companies are battling it out amongst themselves. And although local producers have just barely managed to stay competitive in the European project environment, they have long since missed the boat on international tenders. Prices in international projects – often no more than $0.30/W – are at a level that Europeans can no longer keep up with”, Schachinger continues.

Strict EU customs clearance supports European brands

“One thing that is still playing right into the hands of domestic companies is the fact that customs clearance for modules from Taiwan and Malaysia is becoming increasingly difficult, even when they are not modules from China with disguised origin, but goods actually produced in these countries. The European Commission is now so strict and resolute that many logistics companies offering importing or fiscal customs clearance as a service have had their fingers burnt. The draconian punishments – retroactive levying of the punitive tariff plus a fine – have led many service providers to make a wide arc around solar modules and cells. In the Rotterdam area, if not across the Netherlands, it is nearly impossible to find a customs agent willing to import Asian modules”, Schachinger says.

European manufacturers report higher demand

Several European manufacturers like Aleo Solar, CS Wismar and Heckert Solar see a higher demand, they told pv Europe. As one cause they mention the insolvency of SolarWorld. As another reason they see the shortage of ordered Asian and Chinese products for European EPCs due to increasing sales to the U.S. apron possible U.S. import tariffs. Andrea Schartner, speaker of Fronius, is seeing generally increasing module prices since Intersolar Europe, she told pv Europe. (HCN/PF)

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