According to data from the Solarzoom Market Center, quotes from tier-1 suppliers for mono-c-Si 156mm*156mm wafer fell to 8.7 CNY/pc from 9.8 CNY/pc in August, and the price of tier-2 ones declined to 8.6 CNY/pc from 9.4 CNY/pc.
Solarzoom learned that the demand for mono-c-Si wafer is shrinking. Since most firms are suffering with poor liquidity, they have cut the quotes further to improve cash flow, causing pricing for mono-c-Si wafer to get to a very low level. This forces additional pressure on the market. Some domestic manufacturers quote their mono-c-Si 156mm*156mm wafer already in the range of 8.5 CNY/pc to 8.8 CNY/pc. Under those conditions manufacturers use only 50% capacity, manufacture for a specific period of time to be shutdown in another period, while others shut down their mono production completely. We are aware of at least couple of large enterprises who already stopped mono production. However, in order to keep both their furnace and employees in operation to consume their raw materials inventory, specific large-scaled manufacturers like Xi'an LONGi Silicon Materials Co Ltd (SHA:601012) or Solargiga Energy Holdings Limited (HKG:0757) still have a large volume of output.
In addition to mono-c-Si wafers, the price of mono cell also has declined. According to the Solarzoom Market Center, present pricing of mono 156mm*156mm cell from tier-1 suppliers stands at 3.3 CNY/Watt, which is a drop of 5.7% from the price in early August. Tier-2 cells fell down to 2.9 CNY/Watt from 3.1 CNY/Watt, which is about 6.4%. Most mono- cell manufacturers have transferred most of their capacity into the production of poly cells as a result of this pricing.
The average conversion efficiency of mono-cell is about 18.6%-18.8%, and some can be higher than 19%, while the average conversion efficiency of poly-c-Si cell stands between 17.2% and 17.4%. After being made into the regular 60 poly-cell module, the efficiency is only 7% lower than one made with mono cells. However, polycrystalline 156mm*156mm cell is 2.55 CNY/Watt to 2.75CNY/Watt, about 16% lower than mono cell. According to the performance-to-price ratio, poly-c-Si cells are much better priced. As a result, the demand for mono products is stagnating and the price is falling.
In early August, the price of the poly 156mm wafer was 7.7 CNY/pc, and for mono was 9.8 CNY/pc. When the price of mono wafer dropped to 8.6-8.7 CNY/pc or 11%, this momentarily gave an advantage, but the price of poly wafer continued to decrease, so this advantage disappeared. Another condition is that cell production lines are capable of transferring settings from mono to poly with few adjustments, but wafer production lines cannot. The mono rods and poly ingot are made by different furnaces, so the manufacturer can’t switch their product from mono to poly using the same production line. There are also many manufacturers who produce just mono rods or wafers only; they have to keep selling regardless of the price to keep operating their facilities at a loss, until they run out of financial resources or pricing improves.