Polysilicon producer REC Silicon has been forced to sell solar grade (FBR) polysilicon below cash cost, due to weak demand and ASP declines, driven by demand curtailment in China and continued polysilicon capacity expansions.
Polysilicon producer REC Silicon expects its FBR (Fluidized bed reactor) polysilicon production to decline 42% in the third quarter of 2018, after recently announcing further cuts in workforce and production at its Moses Lake facility that would operate at only 25% utilisation rates. The company noted that it was evaluating the possible suspension of all of its solar related materials business in the US.
In President Trump's statement imposing a 30% import duty on all foreign made crystalline silicon solar cells and modules reference was made to renewed efforts that would be made to resolve the trade war with China over polysilicon duties on US producers, effectively locking them out of the market.
Since Wacker Chemie opened its new 20,000MT polysilicon plant in Charleston, Tennessee in 2016, there was a good chance that the German-headquartered chemicals firm could overtake incumbent market leader, GCL-Poly.
Specialist polysilicon market research firm, Bernreuter Research has warned of continued overcapacity that will force pricing down below many producers' cash cost levels and threatens the existence of high-cost producers in 2018.