OCI Invests $1.6 billion in Expansion of Polysilicon Plant

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12.05.2010
Seoul,   South Korea

OCI is investing up to $1.6 billion (KRW 1.88 trillion) to build facilities on a large scale through the addition of polysilicon plant with production capacity of 27,000 metric tons. The new capacity will meet the company’s preemptive strategy to satisfy customers’ growing needs for high-purity polysilicon.

OCI will construct the P4 polysilicon plant with production capacity of 20,000 metric tons at the existing site in Gunsan, Jeollabuk-do. The construction starts this month and is scheduled to be completed by October 2012. A total of $1.4 billion (KRW 1.6 trillion) will be invested.

Along with the construction of the P4, OCI will also debottleneck (a process to increase existing capacity through the modification of existing facilities) P3 Plant by 7,000 metric tons. OCI will initiate the project in December 2010 and aim for completion by December 2011 at a total investment of USD 245 million (KRW 280 billion).

OCI has started trial production at its new 10,000 metric tons per year P3 Plant with official startup scheduled by the end of December 2010. Upon completion of two-phase debottlenecking of P3 (Phase 1: 8,000 metric tons Phase 2: 7,000 metric tons), OCI will become the largest polysilicon supplier in the global solar PV industry with total annual production capacity of 42,000 metric tons as end of 2011. With further polysilicon plant expansion of 20,000 metric tons per year P4 Plant in October 2012, OCI will be equipped with a total manufacturing capacity of 62,000 metric tons and become the largest polysilicon supplier in the world.

The commission of P4 Plant will bring OCI cost competitiveness through economies of scale. P4 will be the first plant to have the largest production capacity of 20,000 metric tons in the world based on the accumulated technical expertise from the improved productivity acquired from its existing polysilicon plants. Particularly, OCI expects to gain cost competitive advantage by completing the 7,000-metric ton with the minimum cost of USD 35 per kg. Polysilicon production is a highly capital-intensive industry requiring around $100 per kg for facilities and equipment.

“The large-scale expansion is designed to support continuously increasing demand for high-purity polysilicon products. We shall strengthen our market dominance through satisfying the needs of existing and new customers,” an OCI official said.

High-purity polysilicon products over 9-nine (99.9999999%) grade are expected to remain in short supply as the market has been witnessing a significant increase in preference for high-efficiency solar cells in the global solar PV market. The additional expansion will enable OCI to efficiently respond to the growing demand for high-purity products. OCI is supplying 10-nine (99.99999999%) grade and 11-nine (99.999999999 %) grade polysilicon to about 50 customers worldwide by continuous R&D activities and capital investment.