Solar polysilicon shortage could turn to glut by 2025

Solar PV system. Author: Eleleleven. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

February 9 (Renewables Now) - This year will be the last in which polysilicon shortage is limiting solar growth globally as new factories will start coming online in mid-2023 to meet the significant demand, Rethink Energy says in its new paper – Polysilicon Manufacturing forecast to 2030.

In 2021, demand exceeded supply by 50 GW and the gap could be even bigger in 2022.

“The polysilicon shortage will continue to limit worldwide solar installations until mid-2023, in which year 250 GW of polysilicon solar will be commissioned. The price of polysilicon will take at least five years to return to the record low of 2020, but will then decline even further,” commented solar analyst Andries Wantenaar, who is also a lead author of the paper.

In 2020, lockdowns hit solar demand, polysilicon prices dropped to record low levels of around USD 6 (EUR 5.3) per kg, company profits were squeezed and expansion plans froze. In 2021, the global polysilicon production capacity was just 621,000 tonnes, the shortage was followed by a jump in prices, reaching USD 40 per kg, and the surviving companies from the sector responded with big factory plans.

Rethink Energy expects a polysilicon supply glut by 2025, followed by record low prices, consolidation, and a couple of bankruptcies.

“Production capacity will more than quadruple this decade compared to the scale seen in 2020 [..] China’s dominance of the industry will go from strength to strength, but India will build and shelter domestic production under protectionist policies, and the US may do likewise depending on the Biden Administration’s upcoming spending bills,” Wantenaar said.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.877)

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for almost nine years. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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