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Report: PV module prices fell 44% in past year

A new report from IMS Research found that global PV module prices fell by 44 percent from July 2011 to July 2012.

The research firm reports that that average prices for crystalline silicon PV modules fell by 2.4 percent in July alone, after rising by 3 percent in June. IMS credits the rise in June to strong demand in Italy and Germany as feed-in tariffs were phased out at the end of the month.

“PV module prices enjoyed a rare period of stability in June, but are once again under pressure as demand in a number of core markets has weakened in the second half of the year,” said Sam Wilkinson, senior analyst of IMS Research’s PV Group.

The decrease was widespread, but Western suppliers were hardest hit, with prices falling up to 5 percent.

“PV module suppliers’ margins are already dangerously low and in some cases negative, and their ability to lower prices any further is severely limited until they can make significant improvements to their cost structures,” said Wilkinson.

A solar farm at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Photo Credit: Suntech

But according to the report, industry stakeholders expect module prices to rise by 0.3 percent in August. However, the predictions for August vary by type of firm, with suppliers and integrators expecting a fall in price but distributors predicting an increase.

“Although the industry has seen a number of significant exits from the market in the recent months, supply of PV modules still far exceeds demand, and suppliers are continuing to engage in fierce price competition,” said Wilkinson.


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