Wafer makers are happy with the soaring demand for solar panels as this allows them to sell their silicon scraps to solar panel makers for as much as $300 per kilogram:
The prices settled for batches of scrap wafers have reached US$300 per kilogram, similar to the price range of US$300-330 per kilogram for polysilicon at the spot market, said sources who participated in a recent round of bidding. Scrap prices were about US$240-250 three to four months ago which was already considered high, the sources commented.
Most of these high-purity scrap wafers are usually byproducts of silicon wafer ingot production and can be mixed with relatively low purity materials in order to produce fresh solar wafers, the sources said. However, as the purity of these wafers is still lower than solar-grade polysilicon, solar cell makers who utilize these scrap wafers for solar cell production incur additional costs in reprocessing which could drive gross margins below 5%, they added.