Solar panels were already getting cheaper this year, and then China pulled the plug this month on about 20 gigawatts of domestic installations. The result was a glut of global inventories, and now prices are plunging even faster.
China, the world’s biggest solar market, on June 1 slammed the brakes on new projects that would have had as much capacity as about 20 nuclear power plants. With a global panel glut it’s a buyer’s market and developers in other countries are delaying purchases, holding out for even lower prices.
The average price for a polysilicon module slumped 4.79 percent since May 30, reaching a record low of 27.8 cents a watt Wednesday, according to PVInsights. That’s on track to be the biggest monthly decline since December 2016, the last time the industry was facing a global oversupply. China manufactures about 70 percent of the world’s solar components.
The decline will hurt the largest manufacturers like JinkoSolar Holding Co. and is a boon for developers like Sunrun Inc., which are expected to benefit from lower costs.
“Chinese and international project developers are putting their orders on hold as modules get cheaper,” Yali Jiang, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a research note Tuesday. By the end of the year, she expects module prices will slide to 24 cents a watt, down 35 percent from 37 cents at the end of 2017.