Courtesy of PV Magazine, they expect PV “demand for 2014 is expected to be higher than last year, the industry expects that the main driver for investment in polysilicon production tools and innovation will be increased demand for high-efficiency solar cells in 2015”. What this translates into is that yes PV growth will be outstanding with PV demand for solar panels to grow from 3 GW in 2013 to 49 GW in 2014. The main issue plaguing the industry is over supply of polysilicon and low prices. As demand catches up with supply Tier-1 poly silicon producers will see higher utilization and polysilicon prices rise which will signal trigger the next capital cycle for PV equipment which is expected the 2H of 2014 or beginning of 2015. The article also highlights that some plants in China are considering expansion but need access to funding before they can expand. Investors should watch polysilicon prices closely as prices above $25/kg or more are needed for sustained (capital) investment.
According to GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), a supplier of equipment for all stages of polysilicon production, regions that are responsible for investments in polysilicon production equipment include South Korea, China, especially in the northern and western regions, Malaysia, Germany – because of Wacker, the U.S., the Middle East and Taiwan. However, South Korea and Taiwan could lose some market share for new investment because of rising electricity prices. The U.S. is being affected by tariffs. “The market in the Middle East has been slow to develop, but we do expect further investment in this region,” states Chad Fero, Senior Director of Worldwide Service at GTAT.
GTAT is continuing to develop its HiCz furnace, ideal for n-type PV cells. It has achieved some important milestones in the development of this technology and is aligning the furnace’s launch with the emergence of the n-type PV cell market, which could see the next capital equipment cycle begin in 2015 or even as early as the second half of 2014.