Why Asian silicon suppliers are swimming downstream

Shareholders of Chinese monocrystalline silicon (c-Si) ingot/wafer manufacturer Solargiga Energy have approved its US $107M acquisition of Sino Light Investments, which wholly owns Chinese solar cell maker Jinzhou Huachang Photovoltaic Technology (HPT) and its recently-tripled-to-300MW production capacity, which is about 20%-25% of Solargiga’s output capabilities.

Shareholders of Chinese monocrystalline silicon (c-Si) ingot/wafer manufacturer Solargiga Energy have approved its US $107M acquisition of Sino Light Investments, which wholly owns Chinese solar cell maker Jinzhou Huachang Photovoltaic Technology (HPT) and its recently-tripled-to-300MW production capacity, which is about 20%-25% of Solargiga’s output capabilities.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese mc-Si ingot/wafer manufacturer Sino-American Silicon (SAS) says it is participating in an equal-owned JV with domestic cell maker Solartech (HTC chairman Cher Wang also holds a 10% stake), which will build and ramp a 1GW facility this year.

There’s an important theme in both these deals: the growing importance of streamlining the value chain from ingots to cells. In its Sino Light announcement, Solargiga flat-out stated that it aims to “further accelerate its development of downstream business” to better understand customers’ demand, and to develop synergies in its c-Si and mc-Si ingot/wafer businesses. “Vertically integrated players are aggressively driving down costs to enforce their already dominant position,” writes Ted Sullivan, senior analyst at Lux Research, in a recent report. In mc-Si, cost-of-goods-sold (COGS) will be slashed from $1.45/W in 2009 to a projected $0.93/W by 2015, so players that specialize in one or two steps of the value chain need to broaden their reach via M&A or JVs such as these. That downward march of COGS, largely driven by poly-Si costs, is also behind project developers’ preference for c-Si modules over thin-film technologies.

“Dominance in scale and continued manufacturing innovation will allow vertically integrated players to continue fending off newer technologies,” Sullivan writes. “We see x-Si remaining the dominant technology, at least until efficiency improvements begin to plateau in 2015.” – J.M.

More Photovoltaics World Current Issue Articles
More Photovoltaics World Archives Issue Articles

Previous articleWill Distributed Solar Drive Utilities into Bankruptcy?
Next articleSPECIAL-SUPPLEMENT-WIND-TECHNOLOGY Volume 1 Issue 2
Renewable Energy World's content team members help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S., the UK, and South Africa, the team is comprised of editors from Clarion Energy's myriad of publications that cover the global energy industry.

No posts to display