Chinese producers tighten hold over polysilicon production rankings as expansions gather pace

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A polysilicon production facility owned by Xinte Energy, which is set to enter the top five polysilicon producers next year. Image: Xinte Energy.

Both GCL Technology and Daqo New Energy have leapfrogged Wacker Chemie in Bernreuter Research’s annual polysilicon top ten rankings, completing a China-based top three.

And Chinese polysilicon producers look set to occupy all five leading positions from next year, Bernreuter Research predicts, with Xinte Energy and East Hope both set to climb above Wacker in 2023.

Tongwei, which this week confirmed ambitions to take its annual polysilicon production from 350,000MT in 2023 to as much as 1 million MT in 2026, cemented its lead at the top of the polysilicon rankings, while GCL technology rose to second spot.

Daqo, which has itself doubled down on expansion plans after a year of bumper profits, took third spot, knocking Wacker Chemie down to fourth place.

Johannes Bernreuter, head of Bernreuter Research, said Wacker is set to take a similar route as former market leader Hemlock Semiconductor and focus more on electronic-grade polysilicon for use in the semiconductor industry.

Chinese polysilicon producers now hold more than 80% of solar-grade polysilicon production, a market share which is set to exceed 90% in the coming years as capacity expansions gather pace.

However Bernreuter said the industry must take heed of the lessons available from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and overreliance on individual markets for trade, arguing that it is “high time to establish non-Chinese solar supply chains”.

“China has demonstrated what the ingredients of success are: low electricity rates for power-hungry polysilicon and ingot production, loan guarantees for private investment, cost-efficient equipment manufacturing and strategic foresight.”

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