Major PVEP SunEdison is looking to leverage its advanced fluidized bed reactor (PBR) technology that is claimed to offer high-purity polysilicon at the lowest cost to build a major downstream PV power plant business in the largest market, China.
According to an interview with Bloomberg, Ahmad Chatila, president and CEO of SunEdison said that the company was in discussions with an unidentified Chinese firm to build a US$2 billion polysilicon plant in the country with an initial capacity of 20,000 to 30,000MT.
This would be a double the size of SunEdison’s JV FBR plant with Samsung in Korea. The proprietary, advanced technology coupled to the scale of the facility was said by Chatila to reduce production costs to below US$6.0/kg.
According to data from Bernreuter Research and GTM Research, REC Silicon’s FBR cash costs are around US$11/kg. Major polysilicon producers using the Siemens process such as GCL-Poly, Hemlock Semiconductor and Wacker have current cash costs of above US$15/kg.
However, SunEdison announced earlier this year that it was also undertaking a feasibility study to look at building a fully-integrated PV manufacturing complex, including polysilicon production in Saudi Arabia at a cost of around US$6 billion.
The news of a potential polysilicon plant in China comes on the back of SunEdison announcing a major project financing deal with JIC Capital, a subsidiary of Central HuiJin Investment, to fund the development and construction of PV power plant projects in China totalling 1GW over the next three years.
“China will build the most power infrastructure in the next 20 years,” Chatila told Bloomberg. “What’s limiting companies like us in getting into China is getting project financing, and now that’s available.”
SunEdison has also announced plans, back in June to team with with Chinese wafer manufacturer, Huantai Group to develop up to 1.7GW of PV projects in China over the next five years.
Both companies have collaborated on wafering technology since 2006. Huantai currently does not have in-house polysilicon production.