According to a research note from EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce based in Taiwan, PV demand could potentially outstrip supply by the first quarter of 2014.
TrendForce noted that with continued strong downstream PV demand into next year current production levels of polysilicon can meet around 7.2GW of module shipments per quarter.
However, EnergyTrend estimates that demand of silicon wafers will be around 8GW or higher in the first quarter of 2014, coupled with lower polysilicon inventory levels there could be a squeeze on supply until idled capacity or new capacity built but not ramped can be brought online.
An increase in polysilicon prices is expected to be needed before producer’s ramped idled capacity to above breakeven levels, which may not necessarily coincide with the demand-side of PV modules in the first quarter of 2014.
PV demand in the first quarter is expected unusually strong due to FiT changes in Japan and the UK at the end of the quarter and financial year.
EnergyTrend is forecasting grid-connected installations are likely to reach 28.6GW in 2013, while module shipments are expected to be around 33.3GW.