After falling by about 50% from 2009 through 2014, pricing for solar glass is set to commence a rebound starting next year, as anti-dumping duties levied by the European Union (EU) go into effect on Chinese suppliers, according to new analysis from IHS Technology.
Average global pricing for glass used in photovoltaic solar is expected to fall to $4.60 per square meter this year, down from $10.40 per square meter in 2009, IHS says. However, pricing is expected to stabilize and begin a long-term increase starting next year.
By 2018, solar glass pricing will increase to $5.90 per square meter, up 11% from the low point this year, IHS forecasts. In 2010, imports accounted for only 7% of total solar glass supply in Europe. This year, Chinese manufacturers will account for 27% of total solar glass supply in Europe, IHS says, up from 2.5% in 2010.
‘The sharp drop in solar glass prices during the last five years was the result of massive oversupply in the market,’ says Karl Melkonyan, solar research analyst at IHS Technology. ‘Chinese government subsidies on solar glass caused domestic suppliers to increase production and exports. However, the European Union's move to impose countervailing duties on solar glass imported from China will limit supply in the market, leading to an expected increase in prices.’
High imports from China led to lost profits and shutdowns of factories for European solar glass producers. In May, the EU responded with five-year tariffs on solar glass from China. The EU imposed countervailing duties on solar glass imported from China in a range of about 3% to 17%, depending on the level of subsidy that a solar glass company received from China.
IHS estimates the global demand for flat glass – the parent category of solar glass – in 2013 was 47.6 million metric tons. With an estimated 55% share, China dominates flat glass supply. Europe follows with a 16% share.