WAFER PRODUCTION PREDICTED TO EXCEED 30 GW IN 2013

After falling 15% in 2012, solar photovoltaic wafer production is forecast to grow 19% in 2013, passing 30 GW and recovering to the 2011 level, according to the latest NPD Solarbuzz market report “Polysilicon and Wafer Supply Chain Quarterly”.

Solar_Buzz_Polysilicon_and-Wafer_Supply_ChainIndustry utilization is expected to remain below 60%, and while prices have stopped falling, no significant increases are expected, so profitability for wafer makers will remain challenging. Multicrystalline silicon (multi c-Si) technology is forecast to continue its dominance of the wafer market in the short to mid-term. However, the higher efficiency solar cells that can be produced using monocrystalline silicon (mono c-Si) wafers continue to be in demand for applications where space is restricted. The higher efficiencies enable pricing at a premium over standard multi c-Si modules. In particular, rapid growth in the Japanese market is creating demand for premium efficiency modules that use mono c-Si wafers. In the long term, n-type mono c-Si wafers and enhanced mono performance supported by advanced cell designs and manufacturing have the potential to lower total costs per watt and enable faster growth of the mono c-Si wafer market.

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