Polysilicon demand outpacing silicon per-watt reduction strategies

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

Polysilicon demand is increasing sharply on the back of expected global end market demand reaching 49GW in 2014, according to NPD Solarbuzz.

The market research firm expects demand for polysilicon to increase by 25% in 2014, equivalent to a further 282,000MT required, which includes both solar and semiconductor demand.

Recently, Bernreuter Research reported that global polysilicon output in 2013 decreased to approximately 228,000MT, a 4% decline from 238,000MT in 2012. Approximately 135,000MT of polysilicon production had been lost since 2011, due to prices falling below production costs on the back of major overcapacity and a large number of new entrants, primarily in China over the last five years.

However, Bernreuter Research expects as much as 66,000MT of new low-cost polysilicon capacity could come on stream in 2014.

Major polysilicon producers cut production in 2012/13 to reduce overcapacity though many have yet to return to full utilisation, indicating increased demand could be met from higher utilisation rates and new capacity additions already ready or near ready to start production in 2014.

Yet, NPD Solarbuzz noted that it can take three to six months after polysilicon is produced for it to be converted into wafers and cells, and then shipped as finished modules through distribution channels for installation.

As a result, the lead times can skew polysilicon demand higher than module demand, particularly in a rapidly expanding market as project by the market research firm in 2014.

“Conversely, the amount of silicon required per watt at the module level has been declining steadily each year,” said Charles Annis, vice president at NPD Solarbuzz. “Solar supply chain companies have lowered the number of grams-per-watt by reducing wafer thickness and kerf loss, increasing yields in all manufacturing steps, reducing module loss, and continuously raising panel efficiency.”

NPD Solarbuzz said that the average amount of silicon used in a solar module is expected to fall by 55% from 2005 through to the end of 2014, reaching approximately 5 grams per watt.

However, in periods of low polysilicon prices, wafer thickness and kerf-loss reduction strategies can slow or stop altogether. Previous editions of the ITRPV expected wafer thicknesses to have been reduced to 160 microns by the end 2013. Yet the 2013 edition of the ITRPV acknowledged that would not happen as the vast majority of wafers remained around 180 microns thickness.

NPD Solarbuzz did note that the reduction in silicon consumption for solar wafers was expected to continue, though at a slower rate, citing the “material reduction steps implemented to decrease polysilicon consumption have now been exhausted”.

Significantly, due to the continued higher costs associated with monocrystalline wafers, thickness rates continue to decline, especially for leading n-type mono wafer users such as SunPower.

NPD Solarbuzz echoed projections from Bernreuter Research that increased production of polysilicon would support end-market demand for the PV industry, indicating polysilicon prices would not impact overall cost reductions in 2014.
 

22 September 2021
To commemorate the World Energy Storage Day(WESD) on 22 September, being recognized worldwide, Customized Energy Solutions (CES) and India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) is organising the 5th global conference and virtual expo, which will be held virtually on 22 September 2021. WESD is a global movement initiated by various apex trade bodies working to promote and adopt energy storage, e-mobility & green hydrogen technologies for a sustainable future. The forthcoming edition of WESD is expected to attract global participation with an intent to facilitate bi-lateral trade, market development and new research and innovation, which will invite 100+ countries, 100+ regulators & policy makers, 100+ International speakers,1000+ organisations, 100+ partners & exhibitors and 20,000+ global delegates.
28 September 2021
Solar Solutions International is the largest trade show for solar energy in Northwest Europe. Now the solar market has grown up, it's time for the next step. Solar Solutions International displays more than 500 innovations and over 100 practical seminars concerning the latest in energy storage, smart products, and an ever evolving array of solar panels. As an exclusively B2B trade show, Solar Solutions International offers both exhibitors and visitors the chance to network at the highest level. Duurzaam Verwarmd, the largest trade show for sustainable HVAC technology in the Benelux, is held simultaneously. This way your one visit gets you up to date with all of the developments in both sustainable energy and heating.
6 October 2021
Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry. It takes place as part of The smarter E Europe – the continent’s largest platform for the energy industry. Under the motto “Connecting solar business,” manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and project planners and developers from around the world meet in Munich every year to discuss the latest developments and trends, explore innovations firsthand and meet potential new customers.
6 October 2021
The future is bright for a new era of US solar and storage, and the 8th annual Solar & Storage Finance Summit will provide opportunities to discuss solutions to the industry’s challenges and provide a networking platform designed to bring together the top minds in the industry to do business. With a mix of high-level, informative presentations and panels, a stellar cast of speakers and audience members with deal-making capacity, the 2021 edition of the event will be a sell-out success.
18 October 2021
Intersolar South America, South America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry, takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil on October 18–20, 2021, and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. At the accompanying Intersolar South America Conference, renowned experts shed light on hot topics in the solar industry.
19 October 2021
This year’s EV World Congress will hold a special role, not only as the first live EverythingEV event in over a year – a chance to renew your connections and re-engage with the EV sector face to face – but also as a chance to share insight and inspiration as world starts to look towards move on post COVID towards hitting ambitious decarbonisation goals in 2030 and beyond. As ever, we will be bringing world leading organisations, cities, and technology providers to the UK to inspire EV innovators, and delve into the challenges facing the sector as the UK looks to revolutionise road transport.

Read Next

September 22, 2021
More than 190 US solar companies have warned that proposed duties on imports of modules and cells from three Southeast Asian countries represent an “immediate and serious threat” to America’s solar sector.
September 22, 2021
Access to off-grid electricity should be seen as a key mechanism to drive rural development and improve economic wellbeing and living standards in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), according to a new report by University College London’s (UCL) Engineering for International Development Centre and off-grid, pay-as-you go solar company BBOXX.
September 22, 2021
A project combining 300MWac of solar with a 150MWac/600MWh battery energy storage facility in New Mexico has advanced after DE Shaw agreed to acquire it.
September 22, 2021
Generac Power Systems has bolstered its presence in the microinverter segment with the launch of a new product line that it says allows homeowners to take advantage of the full potential output of solar arrays.
September 22, 2021
Oil and gas major Shell has launched the Shell Energy brand in Brazil and has committed to investing R$3 billion (US$570 million) in renewables in the country by the end of 2025
September 22, 2021
China has appealed a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that rejected the country’s challenges to the US' safeguard tariffs on certain crystalline silicon PV cells.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021