New polysilicon developments could reduce Chinese dependency

News Analysis




New polysilicon developments could reduce Chinese dependency

While China still holds the largest market share of polysilicon production, other players around the world are starting to emerge.

In March, Oman-based United Solar Polysilicon (FZC) SPC began construction of a US$1.35Bn polysilicon production facility at the SOHAR Port and Freezone in Oman. The facility is the first of its kind to be constructed in the Middle East and will cover an area of 160,000m2. Operations are scheduled to start in 2025, with an annual production target of 100kt. The project aligns with the objectives of Oman Vision 2040, the national reference for economic and social planning.

This development follows an announcement by China-based solar material manufacturer Shuangliang Eco-Energy in January stating that the company received a US$58.3M equipment order from United Solar Polysilicon (FZC) SPC. Shuangliang Eco-Energy will supply United Solar Polysilicon (FZC) SPC with polycrystalline silicon reduction furnaces, hydrogen production equipment, and refrigeration equipment. In addition, China National Chemical Engineering Sixth Construction was the project contractor and has worked on many major Chinese polysilicon projects.

Interestingly, this project does not represent the only major polysilicon factory development recently announced outside China. Australian-owned Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners’ previously announced plans to construct a “multi-billion-dollar” polysilicon factory within the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct in North Queensland, Australia, received a significant boost after the Queensland State Government decided to fast-track the project. In March, Queensland Development and Infrastructure Minister Grace Grace announced that the project had been declared a prescribed project, which enables the acceleration of the approvals process. The AUD$7.8Bn (US$5.1Bn) project, named Project Green Poly, will form one of Australia’s first integrated mine-to-manufacturing polysilicon supply chains. The polysilicon produced at the factory, which will be supplied with electricity from a large-scale solar and battery storage project, will be used to produce polysilicon wafers for solar and battery manufacturers.

Over the last decade, significant polysilicon producers outside China have been based in South Korea, Europe, the USA, Malaysia, and Japan. Attractive incentives and the potential to accelerate industrialisation and foster the green energy sector may lead to an increase in the number of polysilicon projects outside these regions.