Price pressures could delay 15% of large-scale solar projects this year, Roth Capital warns – PV Magazine USA
A 15% cut would reduce new capacity additions by more than 2.3 GW this year alone, according to forecasts from the Energy Information Administration. Higher prices throughout the solar supply chain are blamed.
Equity research firm Roth Capital Advisors warned clients in a May 16 research note that current price pressures could delay up to 15% of planned utility-scale solar development in 2021.
“With everything at high levels, some projects will be pushed,” the company said.
Roth Capital said that six months ago the price of US utility weigh modules for delivery in the third quarter of 2022 was in the range of $ 0.25 per watt freight on board (FOB), or $ 0.27 / W Delivered Duty Paid (DDP).
It set the most recent prices at $ 0.28 / W FOB and $ 0.32 / W DDP. He said that with unleveraged internal rates of return as low as 4-8% and leveraged IRRs between 13-18%, “there isn’t a lot of room to absorb the inflation of input costs. “
The most recent short-term energy outlook from the US Energy Information Administration projects utility-scale solar additions to be about 15.7 GW this year and 15.9 GW in 2022. A reduction of 15% would reduce new additional capacity by more than 2.3 GW this year alone.
Roth Capital said prices appear to be rising across the solar value chain. He reported that Tongwei had raised its cell phone prices for the fourth time in a month and that LONGi had announced its biggest price increase in the past 12 months.
In a quarterly earnings report, Albuquerque-based Array Technologies, which manufactures single-axis trackers, said the industry was facing increases in steel and shipping costs that are “unprecedented in both times. by their scale and rate of change ”. He said that compared to the first quarter or 2020, hot-rolled coil steel spot prices more than doubled in the first quarter of 2021. He said prices continued to rise in the second quarter with spot prices up more than 10% since April 1. . “
Array said steel is almost half of the cost of goods sold. And because he holds large inventories, “a significant increase in the price of steel over a short period of time can have a negative impact on our results.”
The company said it passed on higher product and shipping costs to customers, fixed commodity prices with suppliers, entered into long-term contracts with freight suppliers, further diversified its base of ‘supply and increased lead times to give it more time to procure. raw material.
Array said he believed his competitors were affected by the same cost increases and in some cases “much more significantly because their small size gives them less purchasing power from suppliers.” Short-term pressure could help it gain market share if some competitors are unable to deliver due to their inability to purchase competitively priced commodities “or not at all”.
Array said he expects steel prices and shipping costs to normalize once the ‘restart’ of the global economy is complete after shutdowns from the Covid-19 pandemic . Nonetheless, in its income statement, the company suspended its performance forecast for the remainder of the year. He said he plans to update his guidance after a review of all of his pending purchase orders, and once commodity and shipping prices stabilize.
100% price increase
Array Technologies is not alone in feeling the effects of rising supply chain prices. In its quarterly earnings report, SolarEdge Technologies warned that a spike in ocean freight rates was likely to impact its second quarter earnings.
“Ocean freight prices have increased by over 100% over the past month, and our pre-negotiated prices have gradually expired and exposed us to higher fright costs around the world,” said Ronan Faier, Chief Financial Officer of SolarEdge, during a call for results in early May. Higher costs of some components and freight costs related to the expedited shipping of components will also factor into lower margins in the second quarter, he said.
Faier said SolarEdge is managing component shortages while still being able to meet its annual operating plan. Sometimes, however, he had to pay more for a component or resort to air freight to ship components to his subcontractor’s facilities.
In a previous market research note, Roth Capital described 2020 as a year of growth driven by steadily improving demand prospects. In contrast, he characterized 2021 as a “story on the supply side” with a “constant and relentless increase” in the prices of raw materials and components.
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