Wacker Chemie affected by lack of polysilicon demand

15. October 2012 | Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Sandra Enkhardt, Becky Beetz

According to reports, Wacker Chemie AG has introduced shorter working hours, due to a lack of demand for polysilicon from the photovoltaics industry. 650 workers are said to have been affected.

Wacker polysilicon chips

The price of polysilicon has dropped significantly in recent months.

Germany’s Passauer Neue Presse has reported that Wacker Chemie has introduced shorter working hours as a precaution until next March. The affected site is located in Burghausen, where the company manufactures polysilicon for the photovoltaics industry. 

The reason for the decision is said to be the drop in demand on the back of massive overcapacity in the photovoltaics industry. As a consequence, the price of polysilicon has dropped significantly in recent months.

In the medium term, Wacker Chemie expects an increase in demand again. A spokesperson told German news agency dpad that not all the affected employees will be placed permanently on shorter working hours. Additionally, no redundancies are said to be planned.

In September, IHS iSuppli wrote in its PV Polysilicon Price Tracker Report that polysilicon prices have continued to fall since December, with contract prices for 9N polysilicon decreasing to $27.80/kg in August and spot market prices to $21.90/kg. Meanwhile, contract pricing for 6N to 8N polysilicon was said to be $22.70/kg, while spot market pricing was at $20.10/kg.

"Oversupply remains the dominant trend impacting the PV polysilicon market," stated Henning Wicht, director for PV advanced products at HIS, at the time. "The glut has caused pricing to drop precipitously, impacting profitability for polysilicon suppliers."

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