The latest edition of Solarbuzz's Polysilicon and Wafer Supply Chain Quarterly report is predicting a rise in demand on the back of rapidly escalating demand for solar modules.
Although the Solarbuzz figures include demand for semiconductor grade polysilicon, a press release issued today to publicize the report notes semiconductor grade poly has much higher purity requirements and, as a mature industry, has less room for expansion.
Demand for solar grade polysilicon however, is back on the upswing with 49 GW worth of panels predicted to be shipped worldwide this year.
NPD Solarbuzz notes, however, there is not always a direct correlation between the global demand for panels and for their raw material, partly because of the three-to-six-month time lag between polysilicon production and panel shipping and partly because the amount of poly needed in the end product is constantly falling.
The market research company says the amount of silicon needed per watt of output in the typical solar module is expected to have fallen 55% to 5g/W by the end of the year.
NPD Solarbuzz notes that although this trend is expected to continue, it will slow noticeably as most of the polysilicon reduction techniques known to date have been exhausted.
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