The figure above shows the price development of Multi-crystalline – Silicon modules from January 2010 to January 2014 with separate price trends for poly-silicon , crystalline wafers and cells respectively. The price erosion from 2011 to 2012 was caused by huge over supply along the PV chain resulting in prices that were even below the production cost of crystalline Silicon modules. Presently the module prices seems to be stable and sustainable with a 28% PV market growth in 2013, which is 39 GW approximately, as compared to 2012.The average price of Poly-Silicon module was approximately 20 USD per Kg in January 2014. This shows that the price erosion from 2013 to 2014 has stopped due to the upcoming demands and the prices have increased slightly as compared to January 2013. However 20 USD per Kg represented the total level of cost for the top tier suppliers in 2012. This is a drawback for module manufacturing as it has increased pressure to find further cost reduction.
The figure above represents the propotion of cost attributes to Silicon, wafer, cell and module. The overall price level did not change significantly from 2013 to 2014, but the share of different cost elements shifted slightly. Increased cell cost were not fully transferred to module price.
Taking into account that the expected global PV module production capacity in 2014 of >62.7 GW will still slightly exceed the global market demand of about 45-55 GW, prices will not compensate for cost increases. Driving cost reductions in consumables and materials will therefore remain a major task for the industry.
Three strategies will help meet this challenge:
- Continue to reduce costs per unit along the whole value chain by optimizing usage of installed production capacity and by the efficient use of Si and non-Si materials
- Introduce specialized module products for different market applications (i.e. balance cost- optimized high-volume products with fully customized niche products)
- Improve module power/cell efficiencies without significantly increasing processing