In 2016, 75GW PV installations were realized globally, which was of 28% increase compared to 2015. Owning to its non-comparable robustness and maturity of the technology, more than 90% of the PV installation was based on Si technology. In the same year, 580ktons of PV grade Si were consumed. In considering Si/Watt conversion rate of at least 5.5g/W, sawing kerf loss of 40%, PV-Si market price of 15$/kg, the overall lost Si adds up to at least 200ktons or about 3B$ in market value.
Considering the market share of Si based technology in PV at present and in the foreseeable future, conservative estimates show that the projected Si wafer market volume will grow by 10-15% p.a. from now on. So, based on the market spot price in current overcapacity situation and forecasted manufacturing cos,t it is fair to expect that Si cost will not be lower than 15$/kg, making the need for cost-effective PV-grade Si production, e.g., by direct recovery from PV wafering process, extremely meaningful.
In ITRPV 2016, expected recycling rate of Si will be steadily increasing, as shown in the following figure. This shows a strong market recognition of the significance of kerf recycling.