Global Glut Could Drive Solar Module Prices Down to 30¢/Watt
Solar-electric module prices could fall to an astounding US$0.30 per watt in 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, with photovoltaic demand falling short of a global surge in manufacturing.
BNEF and Deutsche Bank are both predicting prices in the range of $0.40 per watt, well below today’s price of more than $0.50. But Bloomberg sees the prospect that PVs could fall into 30¢ territory.
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“Speaking at this week’s Solar Power International conference in Las Vegas, BNEF’s head of Americas, Ethan Zindler. said the global solar module industry was headed for one of its worst supply gluts in history, and with no booming Chinese market to mop up the excess,” RenewEconomy reports.
An abrupt drop in prices would be good news for solar plant builders, PV installers, and customers, notes RenewEconomy’s Sophie Vorrath. “It is less good for the health of manufacturers,” some of which might not survive a price drop that would nevertheless spur greater efficiencies in manufacturing.
“As many would keenly recall, the last downturn wound up contributing to the bankruptcy of dozens of PV manufacturers around the world, including major players like Germany’s Q-Cells and China’s Suntech, both later acquired by other companies,” she writes. Last time, the glut “was brought to an end when China’s own domestic solar market took off, sopping up most of the excess supply and delivering the world’s largest solar market by far.”
This time, however, there is “no such ‘solar sponge’ waiting in the wings.”