Due to rapid growth in solar installations this year, IHS forecasts a potential solar wafer supply shortage throughout the entire supply chain. This concern comes despite recent announcements of large capacity expansions in diverse geographical locations from leading solar module suppliers.
IHS notes the following:
- There is increasing likelihood of a potential shortage of tariff-free solar cells in the U.S., and several cell and wafer producers are already warning of a potential wafer supply bottleneck in the coming months;
- Increasing demand for high-efficiency solar modules from key downstream markets has led to intensive demand for high efficiency wafers;
- Trade barriers to importing silicon to China could aggravate the shortage for high efficiency wafers in 2016; and
- The wafer industry's capacity expansions plans will not keep pace with the IHS forecast for demand growth in this year and next.
Most Tier 1 module and wafer suppliers have limited product availability through the middle of next year, IHS says.