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Frost & Sullivan: Polysilicon shortage over

Posted: 22 Feb 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Polysilicon supply? solar cell sector? demand? solar photovoltaic market?

Polysilicon supply for the solar cell sector should catch up with demand this year after years of shortages, according to Frost & Sullivan.

In total, the global solar photovoltaic market generated sales of $6.49 billion in 2005, and sales are estimated to reach more than $16 billion in 2012.

This growth generated a huge demand forand shortages ofpolysilicon. It was estimated that the demand for silicon feedstock neared 26,000 tonnes in 2004. In 2005 there was a rise in wafer production by nearly 7 percent. But by 2006, ''the shortage of feedstock reached a critical point affecting the production of solar panels and, consequently, the industry growth,'' according to the firm.

"We expect polysilicon supply to catch up with the demand already in 2008," said Alina Bakhareva, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan. "The majority of the new quantities will be supplied to the market by top four producers that are expanding their existing production capacities."

In fact, the top four polysilicon producers are expected to add more than 17,000 tonnes of capacity in 2008. This represents over 50 percent increase over their current capacities, he said.

On the demand side, demand from the semiconductor industry is expected to grow at steady one-digit rates. Demand for solar-grade polysilicon is expected to reach over 50 percent of the total demand for high-purity silicon in 2008-2009, he added.

- K.C. Krishnadas
EE Times

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