Representatives from GoGreenSolar.com just attended InterSolar North America, one of solar’s leading networking events. Businesses from more than 70 countries met in San Francisco to showcase new technologies, watch presentations, network, and discuss the future of solar.
Having had the opportunity to talk with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and service providers, we’ve discovered some key information that suggests that the days of low solar panel prices might soon be coming to a close. Though no one has a crystal ball, industry-insiders believe that the prices for solar modules will be going up soon, meaning that the days of $0.72 / Watt solar panels may not be around much longer.
Over the last several years, the surplus of solar panels being manufactured drove margins down, consequently pushing multiple manufacturing companies out of business. While solar panels continue to get cheaper to produce, this consolidation process is now helping manufacturers that are left in the game.
If you recall the trade scuffle we talked about this last year, the Chinese government was found to be providing illegal subsidies, allowing their manufacturers to sell their products below fair market value in the United States.
In response, the U.S. government imposed anti-dumping tariffs of roughly 30% on Chinese solar cells. As you might expect, Chinese manufacturers have been circumnavigating these duties by manufacturing solar cells outside China. Taiwan, which now manufactures these cells, is now having difficulty keeping up with the increase in demand. This could cause prices to increase.
As the dominant solar panel manufacturer in the world, China recently swung back at the U.S. by implementing their own import duties on polysilicon coming from the United States. Because this is a raw material used to make solar panels, this new tariff could also drive up the cost of solar panels.
Though these issues may indicate a coming increase in solar panel pricing, even manufacturers can’t foresee what will happen several months into the future. As you might imagine, this can pose a problem for solar projects that are scheduled months if not years into the future. Imagine a multi-MegaWatt solar project- even a matter of a few cents would make a massive difference.
For a homeowner looking into a residential application, several cents per Watt isn’t exactly pocket change.
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