According to Johannes Bernreuter, head of Bernreuter Research the supply of polysilicon for the PV industry will continue to be constrained in 2021, while significant overcapacity is looming in 2022 and possibly intensify in 2023.
Bernreuter Research’s latest market report, “Polysilicon Market Outlook 2024” paints a picture that continued polysilicon capacity expansions by a few major China-based suppliers that have focused on advanced manufacturing processes at scale, could result in polysilicon spot prices falling back to 2019 levels of below US$8 or even US$7 per kilogram in 2022.
Bernreuter said, “In order for the market to remain balanced, global PV installations would have to grow by 30% annually both in 2022 and 2023 to reach 270 GW in 2023. That is not impossible, but would require the PV market to speed up enormously.”
The PV industry has become increasingly bullish in 2020, despite COVID-19, a doubling of polysilicon prices as a second recent wave of former polysilicon producers have curtailed production or exited the sector. Bernreuter noted that around 275,000MT of polysilicon production had disappeared in the latest consolidation round, compared to 135,000 MT during the first round between late 2010 and early 2013.
Demand in 2020 could rise to around 127GW in 2020, according to Bernreuter Research and other market research firms, which has already produced other material shortages such as solar glass, a material expected to remined constrained until the later part of 2021.
Some market research firms have forecasted global PV installs could surpass over 200GW per annum in the next few years, fuelled by China’s low carbon directives expected in March 2021, coupled to Green New Deals as part of larger economic recovery policies in the US and EU.
Leading ‘Solar Module Super League (SMSL) member, JinkoSolar recently suggested that PV installs in China in 2021 could be in the range of 60GW to 70GW. With annual global installs threatening to surpass 200GW per annum in a few years, further polysilicon expansions would be required to prevent another round of price increases, due to capacity constraints.