‘Mono will supply 80% of the world’s solar by 2021’

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Monosilicon products will account for 80% of the global solar market by 2021, according to Longgen Zhang, chief executive of Chinese polysilicon manufacturer Daqo New Energy.

The chief exec made the prediction in a press release issued to announce the start of pilot production at Daqo’s expanded polysilicon production fab at Shihezi, in the Xinjiang province of China.

In remarks attributed to Zhang in a release carried by the PR Newswire service, the CEO repeated the claim he made when Daqo published its second-quarter figures in August that demand for high-grade polysilicon for use in mono wafers continues to outstrip supply.

“We have seen that monocrystalline solar technology is rapidly expanding market share and accounting for an increasingly significant portion of capacity expansion projects of our solar wafer customers,” said Zhang in the PR Newswire report. “We believe that mono technology will account for over 80% of the global PV market by the end of 2020. The supply of ultra-high-quality mono-grade polysilicon still lags behind the growing demand.”

Capacity doubled

The huge phase 4A expansion project of Daqo’s Xinjiang operation started pilot production on Monday, according to the company, after being finished “months ahead of schedule”. With the poly manufacturer now ramping up demand, full production by the end of the year will have doubled Daqo’s annual production capacity to 70,000 MT.

Cheaper electricity in the northwestern province has helped Daqo double down on production costs and the chief executive predicted manufacturing expense of around $6.80/kg in the first three months of the western new year.

But Zhang was also keen to stress quality as well as huge quantities. With Daqo claiming 85% of its polysilicon output is pure enough for use in high efficiency mono wafers, that figure is expected to rise to 90% by the time the expanded facilities in Xinjiang are operating at full capacity.

And the CEO claimed the company is near commercial production of even higher grade polysilicon for use in n-type cells.

N-type promise

“We are also working closely with some key customers to test our products for potential n-type mono wafer applications, which requires even higher quality polysilicon when compared to standard p-type mono wafer,” said Zhang. “We are aiming to be market-ready and produce approximately 40% of our total polysilicon products for potential n-type applications in 2020.”

Daqo, in common with the majority of its solar manufacturing rivals, has taken on huge volumes of debt to expand production capacity as swiftly as possible ahead of an anticipated flood of orders for new solar generation capacity in China which has been tipped to start this month.

Although overseas demand for PV is also rocketing, GCL Systems Integration CEO Eric Luo last week pointed out a potential fly in the ointment when he predicted forecasts about new Chinese solar generation capacity additions this year would prove to be overblown.