Tokuyama is looking make further inroads into the lucrative solar industry by more than tripling polysilicon production from its Malaysian and Japanese facilities. The Japanese industrial chemicals group will spend ¥111 billion (US$1.4 billion) on the ramping up process.

Annual production at the Tokuyama’s Sarawak facility in Malaysia currently stands at 6,000 tonnes, but this will increase to 19,800 tonnes when the second development phase is completed at the end of 2014. Work on the expansion will begin in April 2012 and cost ¥100 billion (US$1.24 billion).

The company is also spending ¥11 billion on adding an extra 1,800 tonnes of polysilicon capacity to its Tokuyama Factory in Shunan City, Yamaguchi. Through its dual-pronged expansion plan, Tokuyama hopes to boost its global share in the polycrystalline silicon market for solar cells from 5% to more than 10%, while maintaining its current 20% share of the market for semiconductors.

“Although there is fear that globally surging polycrystalline silicon production may adversely affect a balance between supply and demand, demand for polycrystalline silicon is expected to remain on a steady growth path,” a Tokuyama spokesperson said.