Bottomed out! TOPCon Module Prices Increase
2024-06-19 18:01

Prices for U.S. solar PV modules have bottomed out in the wake of the latest anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) filings and solar tariffs.

In its latest module pricing report for March-May, Anza, a solar and energy storage sourcing company, noted a slight price increase of 2% between April and May.

In addition to the slight increase in module prices, Anza added that for the first time since 2022, some suppliers have raised prices in response to new trade regulations, which include the elimination of tariff exemptions for bifacial solar modules.

The decision by the US International Trade Commission to proceed with its investigation and the uncertainty surrounding the AD/CVD filings have complicated the development of medium-term plans for some suppliers in the U.S. market.

"It's hard to do that when you don't know what your actual costs and responsibilities are. That's the biggest impact of AD/CVD, it freezes the market," explains Anza President Aaron Hall.

Hall added that without new AD/CVD filings and solar tariffs, prices would not have gone up.

"There has not been any substantial rebound in polysilicon, wafers and cells. Internationally, the cost of upstream materials and supplies remains low, and these trade cases have really wreaked havoc on the U.S. market.

To a large extent, this means that the largest suppliers who have nowhere else to turn don't necessarily have a secure source of cells outside of these four countries (Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia) and China. It's not easy for them to establish such a source."

Module prices bottomed out in April ($0.24/W)

Between February-May 2024, the median price fell from $0.279 per week to $0.25 per week.

In terms of weekly price changes, module prices hit their lowest level in the week of April 22 at $0.24 per watt, then rose to the current $0.25 per watt, where they remained throughout May.

Anza CEO Mike Hall said, "After years of record low prices, we are seeing the market begin to rebound as domestic manufacturers experience less price pressure from tariff-affected foreign producers."

"We expect this trend of price increases to continue, and it is critical that new projects consider current pricing and potential tariff impacts when sourcing materials."

TOPCon favored, prices rise, PERC continues to fall 

On the technology front, TOPCon prices have rebounded after months of declines, while PERC continues to fall.

From February to May, TOPCon module prices fell 12.8% from $0.29 per watt to $0.255 per watt, while monocrystalline PERC prices fell from $0.265 per watt to $0.228 per watt. From February to April, the spread between the two technologies stayed at about $0.02, and the gap began to widen last month. TOPCon continues to be favored over PERC as the spread has remained low over the past few months.

Aaron Hall added: "There's still a native demand for PERC compared to TOPCon, but generally when you're choosing between the two, you're going to go with TOPCon, especially if the prices are very close."

Inventory growth, 700W modules are starting to have the "first signs"

Hall also mentioned that component inventories in the U.S. are growing, although it's a far cry from what happened in Europe last year.

"Until recently, most of the inventory in the U.S. consisted of older 400W components. Much of the reason for this high capacity was because buyers were too eager to buy more than they needed. To some extent, one of the drivers was the ITC (Solar Investment Tax Credit) in 2019. At the time, we thought the ITC would go down."

Inventories of new technology modules with power outputs of up to 700W have also begun to grow due to uncertainty over the sourcing of certain components of the modules, mainly wafers from China.


Tags:energy storage , polysilicon