Cast-Mono Wafer Production Expected to Reach 2.4 GW in 2012, NPD Solarbuzz Reports

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By 2016, Cast-Mono Is Forecast to Account for More than 25% of All Wafers Consumed by the Solar Industry

PV polysilicon and wafer prices fell approximately 50% in 2011. With demand for solar systems forecast to be down or flat in 2012, polysilicon and wafer prices are expected to remain under heavy pressure. As a result, revenues for both industries are predicted to shrink, polysilicon by 35% and wafer by 47%.

As described in the new NPD Solarbuzz Polysilicon and Wafer Supply Chain Quarterly, significant oversupply of both polysilicon and wafer production is causing less competitive manufacturers to temporarily idle or shutter factories and reduce utilization. Polysilicon factory utilization is forecast to fall from 76% in 2011 to 66% in 2012. Wafer utilization is forecast to fall from 64% to 57%.
In this very challenging market, cast-mono is emerging as an important strategy for wafer and vertically integrated module makers, particularly in China, to increase competiveness. The technology enables hybrid mono/multi-crystalline ingots to be grown in high productivity conventional multi-crystalline DS casting furnaces at lower costs than Cz grown mono ingots.

“Chinese manufacturers know they need to increase conversion efficiencies in order to remain competitive in the oversupplied market. They see cast-mono as a low-cost approach with relatively low technical barriers to achieving this goal,” stated Charles Annis, Vice President at NPD Solarbuzz.

Commercial production of cast-mono wafers and modules began in 2011. This year, cast-mono is predicted to account for 2.4 GW, or about 8%, of total PV wafer production. Based on survey results detailed in the report, cast-mono production is forecast to grow steadily and to account for more than 25% of all wafer production by 2016.

“Many leading Chinese manufacturers are very optimistic about cast-mono, but there are still multiple technical and commercial challenges, such as the wide range of efficiency distributions and the non-uniform appearance of modules, which need to be resolved before the technology can fully achieve its promise of higher efficiency at lower costs. In 2012, we will see how the end market receives a strong supplier push of cast-mono,” added Annis.

Discussion of these topics and much more can be found in the NPD Solarbuzz Polysilicon and Wafer Supply Chain Quarterly. With critical data in user-friendly Excel pivot tables and detailed interpretation of market and technical trends in PowerPoint, the report is a comprehensive guide to the most important metrics used to evaluate the PV polysilicon and wafer industries. To learn more about the Polysilicon and Wafer Supply Chain Quarterly, contact us at our seven global locations, email us at contact(at)solarbuzz(dot)com, or call 1.516.625.2452.

About NPD Solarbuzz
NPD Solarbuzz, part of The NPD Group, is a globally recognized market research business focused on solar energy and photovoltaic industries. Since 2001, NPD Solarbuzz has grown its client-base to include many of the largest global PV manufacturers, major investment banks, equipment manufacturers, materials suppliers, hedge fund companies, and a vast range of other multi-nationals. NPD Solarbuzz offers a wide array of reports, including Marketbuzz, an annual global PV industry report, and Solarbuzz Quarterly, which details both historical and forecast data on the global PV supply chain. The company’s research also provides annual downstream PV market reports by region for Europe, Asia Pacific and US markets. In addition, is a recognized and respected online resource within the solar industry. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @Solarbuzz.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,800 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys, and wireless. For more information, contact us or visit and Follow us on Twitter at @npdtech and @npdgroup.

Solarbuzz and Marketbuzz are registered trademarks of The NPD Group.

Solarbuzz and Marketbuzz are registered trademarks of The NPD Group.
Media Contact:
Stacey Harmon
SAVVY Public Relations
Phone: 925-336-9592
E-mail: media(at)displaysearch(dot)com

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