The CEO, Thomas Krupke of Solon AG, a company claiming to be one of the leading producers of photovoltaic modules for the generation of solar electricity in Germany, recently pronounced that he believed the price of polysilicon would ‘normalize’ within 12 months.
He expects the current price of $200 per kilogram to drop down to between $30 to $50. As a result the share prices in US, European and Chinese solar panel producers rallied, even though some of these companies are more cautious towards forecasts on material costs. Polysilicon is used in as much as 94% of the world’s solar cell production, according to the Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development, a research firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
There are however some differences brewing over which material production process will steer future solar production. A number of venture start-ups are putting their money into CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide). Backers say the material can be sprayed onto foil, plastic or glass or incorporated into cement and other building materials. Conceivably, the entire exterior of a house or building could become a solar generator. As with any new technology however there have been recent reports of production snags.
As to Mr Krupke and his recent price comment on polysilicon; this may well have been influenced by Solon’s decision to invest in its own polysilicon production plant in France, a joint venture with Econcern, a Dutch company.