Despite higher polysilicon prices, most greater China solar panel manufacturers say they plan to lower or keep prices steady to win market share. According to Global Sources' ‘China Sourcing Report: Solar Panels,’ 88% of suppliers plan to decrease or keep prices stable, while only 12% plan to increase prices.
‘With the polysilicon shortage expected to continue until 2009, most manufacturers are implementing measures to streamline production,’ says Spenser Au, the report's publisher. ‘These include expanding to gain economies of scale, backward integration, and R&D to produce thinner solar cells that require less polysilicon.’
Among respondents' plans to lower production costs, 28% are looking for ways to reduce waste, 27% are increasing automation and 25% are upgrading management systems. The remaining 20% say they plan to focus on vertical integration and decreasing defects to improve manufacturing efficiency, the report says.
‘Manufacturers are generally optimistic, with 97 percent expecting exports to increase over the next 12 months,’ Au says. ‘However, with excess capacity in the high double digits, a larger number of suppliers are reducing prices to gain orders.’
Among surveyed suppliers' primary concerns for the next 12 months, 60% cited price competition, 25% said raw material costs, 7% indicated stricter overseas standards, 5% cited design copying and 3% indicated labor shortages.