There are further indications that the incredibly low prices of solar panels may be coming to an end.
In March we reported on Solar Business Services’ observations of four price rises from PV manufacturers shipping into Australia and it appears Australia isn’t the only country being affected.
More recently, iSupply (recently acquired by IHS) has noted prices for solar panels key European markets are increasing due to number of factors including a restored balance between supply and demand.
iSupply says the average selling price for Chinese solar modules shipped to the European Union jumped 4 percent in March, representing the first monthly rise since January 2009.
Furthermore, the company says prices were set to rise by another 1 percent last month and by an average of 4 percent during the next three months.
“For years, solar module manufacturers have contended with profit-killing market conditions characterized by oversupply and rapidly falling prices,” said IHS senior analyst Glenn Gu. “Now, with clear signs that the balance between supply and demand is correcting, prices have stopped their decline and have begun to rise.”
Influencing factors include the compulsory registration for imported Chinese solar products in the EU, resulting in some manufacturers unwilling to ship or clear modules through customs to the region. This resulted in a significant solar module shortage in major markets such as Germany and the United Kingdom.
While the news of increasing prices is good for manufacturers, it does act as a flag to consumers that the best time to go solar may be now. In other sectors when the prices of goods increase, retailers are often able to soak up some of the cost; but in the solar sector, many retailers already operate on wafer thin margins as a result of intense competition. There is also a danger that in order to maintain low prices, some retailers may cut more corners on quality of systems and installation.