New report expects cut-throat competition in the polysilicon market; slowing demand from the photovoltaic industry

Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020
Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020

The polysilicon industry is likely to experience severe cut-throat competition in 2018. According to the “Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020,” a new report from Bernreuter Research (Wuerzburg, Germany), half a dozen polysilicon manufacturers could be pushed out of business by the end of 2018.


Polysilicon spot price to slump to below 12 USD/kg

“Slowing demand from the photovoltaic industry on the one hand and increasing production capacities on the other will cause turmoil on the polysilicon market,” says Johannes Bernreuter, head of Bernreuter Research and author of the report. He forecasts that the polysilicon spot price will slump from currently more than 14 USD/kg to below 12 USD/kg in 2018.

Already in 2014 and 2015, supply of polysilicon grew more rapidly than demand from the photovoltaic industry, which consumes approx. 90% of polysilicon produced worldwide. The global output of 313,000 and 363,000 metric tons (MT), respectively, led to swelling inventories, which drove the spot price down to a record low of 12.93 USD/kg in January 2016. “Only the massive Chinese PV installation rally in the first half of 2016 saved the polysilicon industry from even more serious oversupply,” says Bernreuter.


Disparity between polysilicon supply and demand

Between 2017 and 2019, however, new capacities of up to 141,000 MT – 70% of which in China – are planned to come on stream while the annual growth rate of new PV installations is expected to sink below 10%. This disparity between supply and demand will result in strong cut-throat competition, Bernreuter notes. “We expect that some projects will be deferred, others will end up as stranded investments, and several existing manufacturers will disappear from the market.”

Chinese polysilicon producers are not only expanding the capacity for solar-grade polysilicon, but a few are also trying to break the oligopoly that six incumbent manufacturers hold in the production of electronic-grade polysilicon for the semiconductor industry.

More details on the polysilicon, solar and semiconductor markets are provided in The Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020. The 70-page report contains elaborate scenarios of supply and demand, detailed forecasts of polysilicon prices and manufacturing costs through 2020 as well as the latest development of FBR technology.


2016-11-24 | Courtesy: Bernreuter Research | © Heindl Server GmbH

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