A decision to restart production of solar grade silicon at its subsidiary, Bécancour Silicon could be in the making after reporting selling 87 metric tons of the material from stock piles in the second quarter for a value of CAD3.1 million. The company had zero sales of the material in the same quarter of last year.
“Our results for the second quarter reflect the continued operation of our silicon metal operations at capacity, excluding planned major maintenance shut downs, as well as sales of 87 metric tons solar grade silicon from inventories, bringing total solar grade silicon sales for the first half of 2011 to 159 metric tons,” commented Dr. Heinz Schimmelbusch, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Timminco. “Our solar grade silicon sales in the first half of 2011 reflect the ongoing interest in the product for the PV market. As we continue to test improvements to our purification process on a small scale, we plan for production-scale testing in the second half of 2011, in advance of restarting our solar grade silicon operations. Our short-term objective is to develop a customer base, with firm supply commitments, to support a decision to invest the capital required for the restart of our solar grade silicon operations.”
The renewed interest from PV manufacturers may be due to improved understanding of treatment processes required after wafer production and continued pressure to reduce wafer costs, especially since wafer prices didn’t see significant price declines until the end of the second quarter, 2011.