- Bernreuter Research’s 2020 list for polysilicon producers places Tongwei on the top with 96,000 MT capacity
- Wacker Chemie of Germany and Daqo New Energy of China took 2nd and 3rd spots, respectively
- The new polysilicon super league of Big Six—Tongwei, GCL-Poly, Wacker, Daqo, Xinte, East Hope—reached a combined capacity of 470,000 MT
- Analysts believe governments around the world need to implement an effective industrial policy for a non-Chinese solar supply chain
Chinese companies continued to dominate the world’s polysilicon production capacity in 2020, with Tongwei maintaining its top spot on Bernreuter Research’s list of top manufacturers in the space, with a total capacity of 96,000 MT, the polysilicon market research firm has said. Producing from its 3 locations in China’s Sichuan, Inner Mongolia and Yunnan provinces, Tongwei is likely to reach a total capacity of around 200,000 MT by the end of 2020 and 300,000 MT in 2023 (see Tongwei Shipped 22.16 GW Solar Cells & Modules In 2020).
According to the German analyst, the other 5 companies following
- Tongwei with 96,000 t on the list are:
- GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. with 90,000 MT,
- Wacker Chemie with 84,000 MT,
- Daqo New Energy with 80,000 MT,
- Xinte Energy with 80,000 MT, and
- East Hope with 40,000 MT..
These ‘Big Six’ with their collective 470,000 MT production capacity, will form a new polysilicon super league in the industry, it added. Except for Germany’s Wacker Chemie, all other manufacturers on the list are based out of China.
OCI of South Korea slipped to 7th spot after it shut down its polysilicon operations in 2020 (see Korean Solar Polysilicon Production No More For OCI).
Warning that the competition among the Big Six will be ‘intense’ with their extremely low production costs already putting pressure on Wacker that refuses to invest in production expansion, Bernreuter Research’s analysis sounds like the death knell for smaller players when it writes, “It makes obvious what tremendous pressure the capacity of the Big Six puts on other manufacturers of solar-grade polysilicon; only a few of them will survive.”
It believes the German producer will slip to the 5th spot by Chinese companies in 2022, as the latter increase their global solar-grade polysilicon output to around 90% in the coming years. Analysts point out that Chinese players GCL-Poly, Daqo and Xinte Energy are currently running their factories with very low-cost electricity from coal-fired power plants in Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region of China from where there are media reports of forced labor practices.
Bernreuter Research’s Head, Johannes Bernreuter argues that these reports should be a ‘wake-up call’ for western governments. “If their countries don’t want to become almost completely dependent on solar products from China for the transition to renewable energy, they have to implement an effective and long overdue industrial policy for a non-Chinese solar supply chain, in particular for ingot and wafer manufacturing. Low-cost and renewable hydropower in the northwestern USA, Canada, Norway and Malaysia offers them the chance to fuel an alternative supply chain without forced labor and a high carbon footprint.”
Bernreuter Research’s report comes at a time, when silicon prices have been increasing significantly due to larger demand and supply. In December 2020, Bernreuter Research came out with it’s the Polysilicon Market Outlook 2024 in which it forecast that there may be polysilicon oversupply in 2022 and 2023 (see Future Bright For Polysilicon Industry, Claims Research).