the anticipated 51,000 metric tons of global polysilicon production for
2008, THT Research expects 2,000 metric tons of that figure to be
contributed by China. The expected increase on the output of 1,000 tons
produced by China in 2007 has been pegged as a result of improved
polysilicon production processes in the country.
However, of the 20-plus China-based polysilicon plant projects at various stages of development, only four Chinese producers are in volume production. THT Research therefore believes that China’s polysilicon supply contribution will remain limited for a few more years.
“Even though there are at least 20 polysilicon projects now underway in China, technical, know-how, logistics, and product purity problems abound; we don’t expect more than eight of them to succeed in the long run,” said Susan Gordon, an analyst at THT Research. “After 2009, China’s production will begin to grow more rapidly, reaching 7,000 metric tons, but it will not seriously challenge North American, European and Japanese dominance in the industry in the near future.”
There has been much debate about when the expected significant increase in polysilicon production will impact the market. Many PV manufacturers are expecting prices to decline in the second half of 2008 for long-term contracts. SunPower, for example, said in its prepared statement covering its quarterly financial figures that it expects prices to decline by approximately 10 percent by the end of 2008.
Some market analysts believe that meaningful polysilicon price reductions will not be seen until later in 2009.
By Síle Mc Mahon