- Bernreuter Research says annual global polysilicon imports into China dropped 23% in 2022
- Japanese supply to China dropped 60%, while that of Taiwanese came down by 50%
- Wacker Chemie and Hemlock also reported declines, but this Bernreuter believes is because both these companies are committed to JinkoSolar’s Vietnam fab
- Polysilicon imports into China will shrink further as its domestic manufacturers undertake massive capacity expansion
Polysilicon imports into China declined 23% annually to 88,093 metric tons (MT) in 2022 as the country ramped up new production capacities on its home turf, according to Bernreuter Research that forecasts further decline in imports into China which means the ‘future of non-Chinese polysilicon feedstock lies outside’ the Asian nation.
“With the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act that bans products from Xinjiang and the anti-circumvention decision against solar modules produced with Chinese wafers in Southeast Asia, the United States are driving the demand for solar panels made of polysilicon and wafers not coming from China,” said Head of Bernreuter Research, Johannes Bernreuter.
In 2022, it was Japan that suffered the most decline in its polysilicon shipments to China with a 60% downward spiral from 15,431 MT in 2021 to 6,129 MT. Shipments in 2021 were due to module producer Sharp offloading large inventory after its Hemlock Semiconductor contract came to an end in 2020.
Even as Taiwanese producers continue to export polysilicon to China under contracts already in place, imports from the country to China dropped by 50% YoY to 3,480 MT.
Another supplier with significant market share in China, the Malaysian polysilicon subsidiary of South Korea’s OCI exported 23% less volume with 22,944 MT due mainly to maintenance works at the company’s factory.
The largest foreign supplier of polysilicon to China, Wacker Chemie of Germany had its 2022 Chinese shipments come down by 6.3% to 48,070 MT while US based Hemlock Semiconductor shipped only 2,785 MT.
Bernreuter believes the decline in Wacker and Hemlock’s shipments to China is due to these companies signing sales contracts with JinkoSolar that has opened a 7 GW wafer fab in Vietnam (see JinkoSolar Wants 70,000 Ton Polysilicon From Wacker).
Another Chinese company Trina Solar is also dedicating its Vietnam wafer fab to cater to the US market that won’t accept any Chinese polysilicon links for modules entering its shores under the Uyghur Forced labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). It will also be sourcing non-Chinese polysilicon for this fab (see Trina Solar Getting Vietnam Wafer Fab Ready For US).
Bernreuter believes polysilicon imports into China will shrink further as its domestic manufacturers undertake massive capacity expansion to meet demand from the largest solar market of the world.
The polysilicon market intelligence firm pegs China’s share in the global output of solar-grade polysilicon at 88% in 2022, up from 82% in 2021 and 55% in 2017.
“Consequently, the future of non-Chinese polysilicon feedstock lies outside China,” he added.
Back in April 2022, Bernreuter Research recommended the western world to establish non-Chinese solar supply chains (see World’s Top 3 Largest Polysilicon Makers Are Chinese).