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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Polycrystalline silicon, also called polysilicon or poly-Si, is a high purity, polycrystalline form of silicon, used as a raw material by the solar photovoltaic and electronics industry. It is a hyper pure form of silicon and is the earth’s second most abundant element. Due to its semiconductor-like material properties, polysilicon is used as feedstock material in most solar energy applications. 

Recent  shakeout  in  the  photovoltaic  industry  has  reduced  the  number  of  polysilicon producers.

The global polysilicon market is expected to grow at 12% per year through 2017  and prices are expected to rise to reinvestment levels..  Global  polysilicon  shipments  are  expected  to  reach  370,000  metric   tonne  by  2017, with the vast majority being used by the solar industry.

The semiconductor and PV industries presently consume about 80,000 Metric Tons (MT) per year, the full current capacity of all polysilicon suppliers. These large users each produce millions of silicon wafers each month. This requires thousands of tons of polysilicon each month, which is used to produce the silicon ingots and wafers needed to fill large orders from the Integrated Circuit Industry and the Photovoltaics Industry.

The polysilicon market is highly concentrated. The top four companies control about 70% of all business. In 2013, China-based GCL was the largest producer with 22% of the global market, followed closely by German giant Wacker Chemie with 21%. US-based Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation was third with a 14% share.Global sales of polysilicon will rise by more than 15% in 2014 to top $6 billion worldwide as surging demand from China and Japan fuels the market.  In 2013, the top five vendors – GCL, Wacker, Hemlock, OCI and REC – comprised 81% of total worldwide polysilicon production of 215 KMT. This establishes that even with the introduction of many new entrants since 2009, polysilicon production remains concentrated within a handful of firms. Globally, China constituted 35% of 2013 production, followed by the U.S. (24%), Germany (23%) and South Korea (12%), with producers in other regions (primarily Japan) making up the remaining 6%..

Demand for polysilicon used in solar and semiconductor applications is expected to rise sharply to 282,000 metric tons in 2014, up 25% versus last year. The growth in demand for polysilicon is being driven by the rapid increase in end-market solar photovoltaic (PV) module shipments, which are now expected to reach approximately 49 gigawatts (GW) this year.

Source: NPCS Team

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