Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Polysilicon shifting form semiconductor to solar use, say Taiwan makers

Nuying Huang, Taipei; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES [Tuesday 4 November 2008]

Leading suppliers of polycrystalline silicon material (poly-Si) around the world, viewing that demand from the solar energy industry will keep growing in 2009 while that from semiconductor industry will decrease, may allocate increased portions of their output for solar players in 2009, according to makers of solar-grade polycrystalline silicon wafers in Taiwan.

The global consumption of solar-grade poly-Si amounted to 27,673 metric tons in 2007, surpassing that of 23,570 metric tons of semiconductor-grade poly-Si for the first time, the sources pointed out. Since solar energy production is estimated to grow on year by 50% in 2008 and by 30% in 2009 while semiconductor production may drop by 10% in 2009 from 2008, the gap in global demand for poly-Si between solar grade and semiconductor grade will be widening in 2008 and 2009, the sources indicated.

Despite the projected increase in demand, existing leading suppliers of solar-grade poly-Si based on Siemens manufacturing process will be faced with increasing competition from new fellow makers, of which many are based in China, as well as suppliers adopting upgraded metallurgical grade (UMG) or other processes, the sources pointed out.

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