Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Tuesday November 14, 2017

Solar Companies Are Scrambling to Find a Critical Raw Material

Solar manufacturers are being battered by higher costs and smaller margins after an unexpected shortage of a critical raw material. Prices of polysilicon, the main component of photovoltaic cells, spiked as much as 35 percent in the past four months after environmental regulators in China shut down several factories.

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"There’s just not enough polysilicon in China," said Carter Driscoll, an analyst who covers solar companies for FBR & Co. "If prices don’t come down, it will crush margins." The price spike came after an environmental crackdown in China coincided with an annual lull in polysilicon output. Refiners in China typically cut back polysilicon production during the summer, but it was exacerbated this year when several plants were shut down.