Daqo’s wafer biz exit shows: multicrystalline silicon is in trouble

Directional solidification furnaces for multicrystalline silicon at Daqo New Energy in Chongqing
The shutdown of Daqo’s multicrystalline wafer production unit in Chongqing is indicative of a sea change – Image: Daqo New Energy

Chinese polysilicon manufacturer Daqo New Energy has announced that it will abandon its multicrystalline wafer manufacturing unit in Chongqing still in September.

The company said it made the decision in order to adapt to the “increasingly challenging market conditions for multi-crystalline wafers.”

Although Daqo’s annual wafer production capacity is only about 500 MW, the shutdown appears as a sign of bigger things to come: According to the latest forecast from PV Tech Research, the market share of multicrystalline wafers will fall drastically from 67% in 2017 to 20% in 2020 and 5% in 2022. It would be one of the most dramatic technology changes in the PV industry.

PV tech argues that the cost reduction achieved by pioneer Longi in monocrystalline ingot and wafer production through scaling up to the multi-gigawatt capacity level is now becoming visible in the market as leading solar cell and module makers accelerate the adoption of monocrystalline products. Indeed, suppliers such as JA Solar are already targeting a mono share of 50% in their 2018 shipments.

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