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MARKET ANALYSIS: Price development of solar modules

Here you will find the complete collection of all articles on the price development of solar modules as well as commentaries on the PV market development, which are also published in trade journals such as pv magazine or photovoltaik as well as on online platforms such as Solarserver or EUWID Energie.

Monitoring the price development of solar modules is of crucial importance for investors, manufacturers and other players in the solar energy industry. A sound understanding of market trends makes it possible to make the most of opportunities and take forward-looking decisions.

As a way to stay informed about PV price developments and other important trends, pvXchange Solarshop offers a monthly market report. This report provides regularly updated information and analysis to give readers a comprehensive picture of the solar market and help them make informed decisions. Additional information on the development of the PV market is also available in our photovoltaic price index.

Bild Martin Schachinger

PV Expert Dipl.-Ing. Martin Schachinger

Managing Partner | Business Development

Founder and Managing Director Martin Schachinger has been involved with photovoltaics for almost 30 years. Since 2008, he has regularly surveyed module prices and written market commentaries that have made him a sought-after expert in the international solar industry.


Contrary to all - or at least my - expectations, module prices have fallen again this month. For most mainstream modules, this can perhaps be explained by continued high inventory levels in the PERC segment, which still exist due to the not yet exhausted demand at the beginning of the year. These backlogs urgently need to be reduced. However, in the "High Efficiency" class, which essentially comprises products with TOPCon, HJT or IBC cells, a further fall in prices cannot be justified.


Cross-party discussions and the resulting uncertainties about future developments and political support continue to burden the European PV industry. Unlike in Spain and Poland, for example, this does not necessarily seem to be slowing down the growth of solar in Germany. After a successful year in 2023, the new year began with promising figures. More than 1 GW of PV was deployed in Germany in January and this growth should continue unabated in February. This can be deduced from the sales figures of manufacturers and wholesalers.


Prices for all solar module types fell slightly again at the end of 2023 but that is the last time it could happen for a while and applies only to current European stock. Even panels currently in transit to Europe are being offered at prices €0.01 to €0.02 per watt higher. That is chiefly because of attacks on merchant shipping in the Red Sea, made in recent weeks by Houthi rebels in Yemen. The attacks have deterred ships from the Red Sea and Suez Canal with some instead travelling an extra 6,000 km around southern Africa. China-to-Rotterdam freight costs have almost tripled as a result.


Rebuilding a complete value chain for fairly traded solar modules in Europe is a tempting prospect. Numerous local jobs could be created, Europeans asserted their technological leadership and may become independent of imports from regions of the world whose values they do not understand, let alone want to support. Unfortunately, it will probably remain an unfulfillable dream for the foreseeable future, a wish on Santa's list that unfortunately went unheeded again this year.


Module prices are still going crazy but this has little to do with normal market mechanisms. The downward price spiral has picked up speed again, after slowing last month. Prices have fallen by double-digit percentages in a month. Module prices have never fallen so sharply and the end is not in sight.


The downward trend in module prices across the board could not be stopped this month, but it is clearly losing momentum. Manufacturers and dealers of solar modules are still reducing their prices, but only in small steps, and seek to slowly approach the price level accepted by the market. For a long time now, nothing has been earned from products at this price level. In China too, it's all about minimizing damage, because unsold stocks generate avoidable costs and the risk of progressive depreciation is always present. In order not to have to pay extra for transport costs, export quantities to Europe have been drastically reduced by Asian producers in recent weeks.


We have all been asking ourselves for some time now: How far can photovoltaic module prices go down before the bottom is finally reached? Apparently, there is still room for further drops, as all prices have fallen again this month. On average, prices in all module categories have been corrected downwards by around 10%. Never before in the history of photovoltaics have panel prices plummeted so significantly in such a short space of time. For a month or two now, the values have been below the previous all-time low of 2020 and even more so below the production costs of most manufacturers. Generating profit margins seems to be a thing of the past for the time being and for many of them it is now just a matter of minimizing damage or even survival.


For the fifth month in a row, module prices fell again by an average of around 6 percent, so the drop in prices since the beginning of the year has increased to an average of 25 percent across all technology classes. Although raw material costs in China are gradually stabilizing again, module prices are continuing to drop due to the currently very high inventories. There is hardly a manufacturer or wholesaler who does not complain about losses in daily business. When clearing stock, discounts must be given that more than compensate for the trade margin. Those who are not willing to offer their goods below the production or purchase price will be stuck with them.


Module prices have again fallen significantly this month, with no end in sight. Depending on efficiency and quality, prices fell by 6-8% compared to the previous month, which means that all values have fallen by at least 20% since the beginning of the year. Zooming out to the last 12 months, you see that prices have fallen by an average of 30%. The last time we saw such a sharp drop in prices was in 2018. The lowest solar module price level to date was recorded in the third quarter of 2020, and this will probably be equalled in the current quarter. However, inverter and storage prices in the European market are also visibly crumbling.


This month, the module prices have dropped again. The prices for highly efficient modules with efficiencies of over 21 percent fell more than those for modules with lower efficiency. This is mainly due to the now very good availability. Even the otherwise difficult to deliver heterojunction modules from the German-Swiss manufacturer Meyer Burger are currently available from distributors in truckloads from stock. This puts a lot of pressure on sales prices.


The module prices in all technology classes have dropped significantly since the last survey in March. That was sudden, but not unexpected. Here we see a necessary price correction across the board to maintain demand, which recently threatened to slack off. At the beginning of the year, the predominantly Asian module manufacturers announced lower sales prices for newly produced goods. However, it took a good two months for these goods to arrive in Europe. Now, at least on the spot market, there are already offers with prices that are up to 20 percent below last year's values. The availability of most types is also generally given.


Anyone who has followed the solar market for more than a decade is experiencing déjà vu thanks to a shortage of inverters. While small, 10 kW hybrid products typically used with energy storage in small systems are again available, larger, 60 kW to 100 kW units are sufficiently scarce to prompt project developers and engineering, procurement, and construction service providers to desperately comb the market. The European market for large string inverters is virtually exhausted, with no short-term supply in sight. Speaking to inverter market players and project developers, explanations range from conjecture with little factual basis to wild conspiracy theories.