Bernreuter Research, global solar installations are expected to be in the range of 95GW to 97GW in 2017, while Polysilicon supply was more than adequate to meet around 100GW of end market demand.
According to market research firm, Bernreuter Research, global solar installations are expected to be in the range of 95GW to 97GW in 2017, while Polysilicon supply was more than adequate to meet around 100GW of end market demand.
Bernreuter Research said that around 100GW of crystalline solar cells as well as around 5GW of thin-film module production in 2017 was expected. In effect, the solar supply chain has remained in balance and fears of overcapacity occurring in the second half of the year, as per 2016 have been averted, primarily through record demand in China.
Market demand in 2017
China has already installed a record 42GW in the first three quarters of 2017, supporting Bernreuter Research’s view and others that that new PV installations in China would exceed 50GW in 2017.
Key demand markets such as the US and India are expected see installations of 12.5GW and 9GW, respectively. According to Bernreuter Research, installs in India have been curtailed, due to higher PV module prices and cancelled shipments from China as string demand in the US and the domestic market offer higher margins.
“Several gigawatts of solar module shipments into the United States will be stockpiled for installation in 2018 to avoid impending tariffs on cell and module imports in the trade case brought up by Suniva and SolarWorld Americas," noted Johannes Bernreuter.
Key demand markets such as the US and India are expected see installations of 12.5GW and 9GW, respectively. Image: Bernreuter Research
Averting any threat of shortages, Bernreuter Research expects a global polysilicon output of 460,000 to 465,000 metric tons (MT), including 30,000 MT of electronic-grade material for the semiconductor industry, in 2017.
"As sawing solar wafers with diamond wire instead of using slurry is reducing the specific silicon consumption more and more, polysilicon supply will be sufficient to produce 100 GW of crystalline solar cells without overly depleting inventories," noted Bernreuter.
However, polysilicon prices have fluctuated throughout 2017 and the analyst predicts that the polysilicon spot price will fall from around US$16.60/kg currently, to a range of 14 to US$15/kg by the end of the year. This was said to be due to higher production capacities being available after the annual maintenance period is over. New polysilicon production capacity is also coming on stream in 2018, primarily in China.
However, pricing may be impacted by the possibility that China will impose higher import duties on polysilicon imports from South Korea in November. Korea is a major exporter of high-purity polysilicon to China.