The Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020

Technology • Capacities • Supply • Demand • Prices

Available on demand

  • Paperback: 70 pages (hard copy only, no electronic file available)
  • Content: 2,906 characters per page; 74 tables and figures
  • Release date: November 24, 2016
  • Dimensions: 29.4 x 21 x 0.5 cm (11.6 x 8.3 x 0.2 inches)
  • Delivery time: 1 to 3 business days to most locations worldwide (via FedEx)
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Overview of the report

Do you want to be up to date on the polysilicon industry? On the most recent technological developments, the decisive market trends and future price points? The Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020 provides you with all of that.

The 70-page report analyzes hundreds of data and details, presents them in a clear and compact form, and draws insightful conclusions to help you make the best strategic decisions. It covers incumbent manufacturers, new entrants and aspirants from:

  • the USA
  • Europe
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • China
  • Taiwan
  • the Arabian Peninsula.

With individual production data on 45 manufacturers and aspirants, in-depth analysis of demand, elaborate supply/demand scenarios, precise forecasts on polysilicon prices and cash production costs through 2020 as well as the latest development of fluidized bed reactor technology, The Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020 provides comprehensive, detailed and up-to-date information on the global market for solar-grade and electronic-grade polysilicon.

Polysilicon market outlook with unique details

  • The technology chapter analyzes why fluidized bed reactor (FBR) technology for producing polysilicon granules has recently experienced some setbacks. It explores fundamental technical challenges and an alternative approach.
  • The capacity chapter provides a concise overview of plant shutdowns, capacity expansions and greenfield projects. A comprehensive table lists all capacity additions and changes between 2014 and 2019.
  • The supply chapter presents four different scenarios of production volumes and end-of-year capacities for 45 polysilicon and UMG silicon plants and projects from 2013 through 2020. It highlights the market shares of the top ten manufacturers, points out China’s growing weight among the world’s polysilicon production regions, and reveals first signs of industry consolidation. The chapter also details the production volumes of electronic-grade polysilicon for each manufacturer and explains purity specifications for electronic grade.
  • The demand chapter quantifies the polysilicon demand of the semiconductor and photovoltaic (PV) industries from 2013 through 2020. It uses an improved bottom-up approach, based on numerous data and forecasts for 84 countries, in order to arrive at three different scenarios of global PV demand. The 20 most important countries and regions have been portrayed individually.
  • The balance chapter compares the various demand scenarios with supply, explains consequences from the supply/demand balance for market participants, and discusses changes in the cyclical pattern of the polysilicon industry. In addition, the chapter gives an outlook on the market development through 2022.
  • The duty chapter provides background on the anti-dumping measures of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and uses data from customs statistics to assess the effect of Chinese anti-dumping duties on polysilicon imports.
  • The price chapter examines the factors that have influenced the polysilicon spot price since 2014 and, in particular, dissects the reasons behind the price rally in the spring of 2016. Based on a diligent analysis of industry cost curves, the chapter forecasts the development of the spot price through 2020. It also provides data on cash production costs of 34 polysilicon plants from 2015 through 2020.
  • A directory of 86 web sites from manufacturers, aspirants, equipment suppliers and engineering firms supplements the polysilicon market report.

Who the report is useful for

The Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020 is an ideal market guide for:

  • polysilicon, solar and semiconductor manufcturers
  • equipment suppliers and engineering firms
  • investors, consultants, analysts and researchers alike.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Abbreviations, Chemical formulae, Silicon grades, Exchange rates

1. Technology: Fading of the FBR Hype

Why Sunedison’s FBR project has failed
GCL-Poly stuck at pilot stage
Fundamental problems and an alternative approach

2. Capacities: Oversupply Reloaded

China protects its polysilicon industry
Closed plants and canceled projects outside China
Hemlock Semiconductor’s rigorous strategy
Small revival of UMG silicon technology

3. Supply: Global Scenarios through 2020

China’s market share is rising strongly
Twelve potential shakeout candidates
First signs of consolidation
Supply and specifications of electronic-grade polysilicon

4. Demand: Market Perspectives through 2020

4.1 Demand from the semiconductor industry

4.2 Demand from the photovoltaic industry

Analysis of global PV installations 2003 - 2015
Meta-analysis of analyst forecasts
Extrapolation from the guidance of major module producers
Bottom-up approach: Installation scenarios 2016 - 2020

Asia-Pacific: Australia • South Korea • Thailand • The Philippines • Pakistan
Latin America: Mexico • Chile • Brazil
Europe: United Kingdom • Germany • France • The Netherlands • Italy • Turkey
Middle East & Africa (MEA)

Plausibility test: Comparison with other PV installation scenarios
A wider perspective: Cross-comparison with three other industries
From installation to production volumes
Time lag between polysilicon and solar cell production
Sensitivity to specific silicon consumption

5. Balance: Supply and Demand through 2022

Supply Scenario 1 (unconfined)
Supply Scenarios 2, 3 and 4 (high, base and low case)
Cyclical pattern: Increasing volatility
Outlook through 2022: Little sunshine after the thunderstorm

6. Duties: Chinese Wall with Loopholes

Tit for tat rulings on punitive duties
The big loophole offered by processing trade
One loophole closed, others still open
US-made polysilicon effectively shut out of China

7. Prices: Valley’s Deep and the Peak Far Away

2014: Short-lived price recovery
2015: Overproduction sends the spot price south
First half of 2016: Reasons behind the spring rally
2016 - 2020: Steadily falling price trend

8. Conclusion: Preparing for Soft Demand

Appendix: Directory of Company Web Sites

A. Manufacturers and aspirants
B. CVD reactor suppliers
C. Providers of reactor power supply systems
D. Hydrochlorination technology providers
E. Other technology providers/consultants
F. Engineering, procurement & construction firms

List of Tables and Figures

1. Technology: Fading of the FBR Hype

FBR market share projections of ITRPV and Bernreuter Research for 2015 - 2026

2. Capacities: Oversupply Reloaded

Global polysilicon capacity expansion 2014 - 2019

3. Supply: Global Scenarios through 2020

Classification of polysilicon manufacturer tiers
Silicon production by region (in MT) 2013 - 2020 (base case)
Scenario 1 (unconfined): Polysilicon production by company and tier (in MT) 2013 - 2020
Scenario 2 (high case): Polysilicon production by company and tier (in MT) 2013 - 2020
Scenario 3 (base case): Polysilicon production by company and tier (in MT) 2013 - 2020
Scenario 4 (low case): Polysilicon production by company and tier (in MT) 2013 - 2020
Top ten polysilicon manufacturers in 2015
Top ten polysilicon manufacturers in 2016
Top ten polysilicon manufacturers in 2017
Top ten polysilicon manufacturers in 2018
Top ten polysilicon manufacturers in 2019
Top ten polysilicon manufacturers in 2020
Potential candidates for shakeout/stranded investment
Market shares of the top ten and top four manufacturers 2015 - 2020
Company specifications and national standards for high-purity/electronic-grade polysilicon
Electronic-grade polysilicon production by company and tier (in MT) 2013 - 2020

4. Demand: Market perspectives through 2020

Polysilicon demand from the semiconductor industry 2012 - 2020
Market shares of growth drivers in global PV installations 2003 - 2015
PV installation volumes and global growth rates 2003 - 2015
Deviation of the analyst forecast average from actual results 2008 - 2015
Analyst forecasts for global PV installations in 2016
Guidance accuracy of nine major module manufacturers 2008 - 2015
Results and guidance of nine major module manufacturers in 2015/2016
Market share of nine major module manufacturers 2008 - 2015
Sensitivity analysis of guidance extrapolation for 2016
2013 scenario and result (in GW)
2014 scenario and result (in GW)
Annual wind power and PV installations in China (in GW)
Global PV installations in 2013 - 2015; base-case scenario for 2016 - 2020
Installation scenarios of IHS, GTM and Bernreuter Research for 2016 - 2020
Regional scenarios of GTM 2015, IHS and Bernreuter Research for 2020
Annual growth rates of the semiconductor and PV industries
Annual growth rates of the automobile and PV industries
Annual growth rates of the automobile industry after 1945
Development of annual wind power and PV system installations (in GW)
Global cryst. solar cell and thin-film module production volumes (in MW) 2004 - 2015
Ratio between global cell/module production and PV system installation volumes
Scenarios of crystalline silicon cell production volumes (in GW) 2016 - 2020
Polysilicon shipment periods (in weeks)
Breakdown of time lag between polysilicon and cell production (in weeks)
Specific silicon consumption of cell production (in g/W) 2012 - 2021
Share of first quarter in full year cell/module production/shipment volumes
Polysilicon consumption/demand of the PV industry (in 1,000 MT) 2013 - 2015
Scenarios of the PV industry’s polysilicon consumption/demand (in 1,000 MT) 2016 - 2020
Scenario variants of specific silicon consumption (in g/W) 2016 - 2021
Scenario variants of polysilicon demand (in 1,000 MT) 2016 - 2020
Details of the scenario for specific silicon consumption 2014 - 2021

5. Balance: Supply and Demand through 2022

Demand of the PV and semiconductor industries (in 1,000 MT) 2013 - 2015
Scenarios for the demand of the PV and semiconductor industries (in 1,000 MT) 2016 - 2020
Balance of silicon supply and demand (in 1,000 MT) 2010 - 2015
Unconfined silicon supply by tiers (Scenario 1) and demand scenarios 2013 - 2020
Scenarios of the supply/demand balance with unconfined supply (in 1,000 MT) 2016 - 2020
Market-clearing demand variants 2016 - 2020 (Supply Scenario 1)
PV installations in the base, high-case and market-clearing demand scenarios 2016 - 2020
Silicon supply by tiers (Scenario 3, base case) and demand 2013 - 2020
Scenarios of the silicon supply/demand balance (low, base and high case) 2016 - 2020
Intervals between contract price peaks and troughs 1977 - 2015
Preliminary scenario of the supply/demand balance 2020 - 2022

6. Duties: Chinese Wall with Loopholes

Duty rates for imports from the USA, South Korea and the EU into China
Annual import volumes into China from main importers 2010 - 2015
Shares of processing trade and main importers in imports 2013 - Q2 2016

7. Prices: Valley’s Deep and the Peak Far Away

Expansion of Chinese wafer production capacities (in GW) in 2015 and 2016
Development of the polysilicon spot and contract prices in 2014
Development of the polysilicon spot and contract prices in 2015
Monthly polysilicon supply in China from January 2015 through May 2016
Development of the polysilicon spot prices in and outside China in 2016
Jiangsu Zhongneng’s external polysilicon shipments Q1 2014 - Q2 2016
Solar-grade polysilicon industry cost curves 2015 - 2017 (base-case scenario)
Solar-grade polysilicon industry cost curves 2018 - 2020 (base-case scenario)
Scenarios of the year-end polysilicon spot price (in $/kg) 2016 - 2020
Exchange rates for US$1 in 2013 and from January through October 2016
Cash costs of polysilicon manufacturers (in $/kg) 2015 - 2020 (base case)

Companies Covered


Hemlock Semiconductor
REC Silicon
MEMC Pasadena
Mitsubishi Polysilicon America
Wacker Polysilicon North America


Wacker Chemie
Silicon Products Bitterfeld


Osaka Titanium technologies
Mitsubishi Materials

South Korea

OCI Company
Hankook Silicon
Hanwha Chemical


Semiconductor Plant

Arabian Peninsula

Polysilicon Technology Company
Qatar Solar Technologies


Jiangsu Zhongneng (GCL)
Xinte Energy (TBEA)
Luoyang China Silicon
Sichuan Yongxiang
Xinjiang Daqo
Asia Silicon
LDK PV Silicon
Inner Mongolia Dunan
Yichang CSG
Inner Mongolia Shenzhou
Sichuan Renesola
Guodian Jingyang
Kunming Yeyan
Inner Mongolia Fengwei
Qinghai Huanghe Hydropower
Shaanxi Tianhong
Xinjiang Hejing
Hubei Jingxing
Zhejiang Zhongning
Shaanxi Non-ferrous Tianhong REC
Xinjiang Dongming
Erdos Polysilicon
Jiangsu Xinhua Semiconductor (GCL)


Taiwan Polysilicon
Powertec Energy

UMG silicon manufacturers

Elkem Solar
Jaco Solarsi
Silicor Materials

How the press covers and reviews the report


It is unlikely that anyone has a more up-to-date study. A more thorough market study probably does not exist either. The 70-page analysis does not indulge in speculation. It sticks to the data, which is presented using rich tables and illustrations. It includes four remarkable scenarios that depict possible future developments in the industry in incredible detail. This increases the usefulness of the study. Decision-makers will certainly appreciate the comprehensive analysis. The study, which is written in easy-to-understand English, is a worthwhile read for anyone who works in the industry.

Jörn Iken on, February 10, 2017

Download the complete review as a PDF:


Specialist polysilicon market research firm, Bernreuter Research has warned of continued overcapacity that will force pricing down below many producers’ cash cost levels and threatens the existence of high-cost producers in 2018. According to the latest Bernreuter report, The Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020 polysilicon spot prices are expected to decline from more than US$14/kg currently to below US$12/kg in 2018, as the supply of polysilicon has increased more rapidly than demand from the photovoltaic (PV) industry, which consumes approximately 90% of polysilicon produced worldwide. On the technology front, Bernreuter has become more hawkish on the ability of fluidized bed reactor (FBR) technology to become a mainstream product that has been hailed as a low-cost alternative to the Siemens process and its various modified versions deployed today.

Mark Osborne on, November 24, 2016


Not always considered the most fashionable side of the solar industry, the turbulence within the polysilicon market over the last few years has made it difficult to keep all industry eyes off it. A new report from polysilicon market analyst Bernreuter Research, The Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020, predicts that the instability is set to continue, at least for the next few years, as increasing manufacturing capacity will be stung by a slight dip in demand. This drop will be a result of a two-pronged attack on polysilicon prices: Firstly, new manufacturing capacities of 141,000 MT are expected to go online between 2017 and 2019, of which the majority will be in China. While simultaneously, the annual growth rate of new PV installations is expected to fall below 10%, ironically, this is mainly due to China decreasing its solar PV target, and loosening its support for the clean energy technology.

Sam Pothecary on, November 24, 2016

“Highly interesting in-depth research”

Bernreuter Research provides highly interesting in-depth research on the polysilicon market, with updates on the newest trends and technological development. As an analyst myself, I appreciate the high level of detail provided. The Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020 is well written and I would strongly recommend it.

Jonas Meyer, Equity Analyst at SpareBank 1 Markets


“Highly comprehensive, useful and up to date”

The Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020 represents a highly comprehensive and useful information source with regard to polysilicon technology – for both PV and semiconductor usage. With their regular updates year by year, market trends as well as new technology innovations, the reports from Bernreuter Research are always up to date within a still rapidly changing and highly volatile market environment. From the perspective of an internationally operating research institute, the reports offer great additional value in areas that are not easily accessible by standard literature research.

Dr. Jochen Rentsch, Department Head and Coordinator of Industrial Transfer Projects at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems


“Provides missing pieces of the puzzle”

The Polysilicon Market Outlook 2020 report delivers a comprehensive but compact and easy to read market overview, which supports us well in our business of contactless, automated, high-purity poly and mono silicon crushing technology. The report fits very well in our own market picture, adds valuable information, and provides missing pieces of the puzzle.

Johannes Käppeler, former Chief Technology Officer at SELFRAG AG

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Selected References

Bernreuter Research – Polysilicon Market Reports

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