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Solar manufacturing Superpower China remains weak in Poly raw material production

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China weak in Poly

China is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar cells and panels, with almost 50% of the world’s capacity if not more. The country’s major solar companies like Jinko Solar, JA Solar etc. are the world’s top 10 module makers and shippers. The enormous cost cuts in solar power in the last 5 years has been mainly due to the massive investments made by the Chinese companies backed generously by the government. They have built gigawatt factories and supply chains, which crisscross the world. Though these companies have not been too profitable, they have met China’s objective of making solar power cheap enough to compete with coal and gas power.

Despite China’s strengths in solar power manufacturing, the country has not been successful in making polysilicon which is the major raw material for making solar panels. Though there have been a couple of successes in Daqo New Energy and GCL Energy, most of the other polysilicon producers in China have not been able to produce polysilicon at competitive costs. This has resulted in billions of dollars in losses as most of the Chinese poly producers have gone out of business. LDK Solar is the biggest example of China’s failure in the poly manufacturing business.

China is all set to make a new record of 100000 tons of poly imports as the country’s thriving solar panels industry uses more and more raw material every year. This would mean an import bill of $2 billion at a cost of $20/kg. The country had in 2013 imposed anti-dumping duties on poly imports from Korea and USA. This had not affected imports much, as imports in export processing zones were exempt from these duties. Though US manufactures like Hemlock and REC were affected, Wacker and OCI managed to keep shipping large quantities of poly.


China imported 102,200 tonnes of polysilicon in 2014, the highest annual figure on record and growing 26.7% on year, according to China customs statistics.Of the imports, 72,000 tonnes or 70.45% were through export process zones (EPZs). While the China government has imposed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on polysilicon imported from the US, Europe and South Korea for use by China-based solar-grade crystalline silicon wafers, many China-based importers imported polysilicon through EPZs to evade the taxation.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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