Solar manufacturing majors call on customers to delay projects amidst supply ‘crisis’

Glass prices have risen once again, while polysilicon prices have risen by 9% in the last week alone. Image: Trina Solar.

Five of the solar industry’s leading module manufacturers have issued a joint statement warning of an impending “crisis” regarding module supplies, imploring developers to consider delaying projects and calling for greater collaboration between upstream and downstream players.

In an open letter seen by PV Tech, LONGi Green Energy, JinkoSolar, Trina Solar, JA Solar and Risen Energy have warned that owing to soaring materials and logistics prices, many signed orders will result in “serious losses” and “seriously endanger the… sustainable development of the industry”.

The price of polysilicon has been a near constant thorn in the side of solar cell and module manufacturers this year, and this week prices leapt up by a further 9% after the Chinese government ordered silicon metal refineries to shutter amidst a deepening power crisis in the country.

Today’s letter also references an 18.2% jump in solar glass prices and a 35% increase in the cost of adhesive films year-on-year felt last year, while the cost of modules have only risen by a comparatively modest 9% over the course of 2021.

As a result, the module majors have warned that the development of the industry is now at crisis point, and have jointly called for four solutions they deem critical to the future health of the sector.

While the companies have stressed they are collectively coordinating resources in order to stabilise supply, they have called upon relevant state departments in China and beyond to help stem a rush of installations forecast for Q4, the quarter when China historically installs the most solar owing to deployment cut-off deadlines.

Furthermore, the manufacturers have implored customers to delay projects if possible, with capacity utilisation rates currently falling below 70% across the board.

The five have also called upon relevant PV industry associations and other bodies to more closely monitor upstream and downstream production capacity to assist planning production capacities in advance and strike more of a balance between upstream and downstream supply and demand.

The letter has also stressed the need for all parties involved in the manufacture of solar panels to collaborate more closely.