Why PVinsights’ polysilicon spot price index has lost its relevance

Weekly polysilicon spot price indices of PVinsights and EnergyTrend in 2019
PVinsights’ polysilicon price has ignored the monocrystalline upswing – Sources: PVinsights, EnergyTrend; Chart: Bernreuter Research

Viewed as a reference source for many years, the weekly polysilicon spot price average provided by PVinsights got out of sync with other polysilicon price indices in 2019.

Between 2015 and 2018, PVinsights’ spot price for ‘PV grade’ polysilicon was 2% to 7% lower than the global polysilicon price index of competitor EnergyTrend on an annual average. In 2019, however, this spread widened significantly from 7% in the first quarter to 16% in the fourth quarter.

The chart above shows what happened: While the spot price high for mono-grade polysilicon was nearly identical at PVinsights and EnergyTrend for most time of the year, the average price more and more diverged between both data providers.

The reason: PVinsights’ average polysilicon spot price largely followed the direction of the spot price low and thus the downward trend of multi-grade polysilicon in 2019. In contrast, the spot price average of EnergyTrend almost moved in parallel to the spot price high as one would expect from the strongly rising market share of monocrystalline solar modules.

In effect, PVinsights’ index does not reflect the average market price anymore, which is increasingly dominated by mono-grade polysilicon.

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