Government policies intended to encourage the domestic production of energy using solar panels have been boosting the global silicon metal market since the last few years. According to Transparency Market Research (TMR), accounting for a share of over 40%, Asia Pacific led the global silicon metal market in 2015. The region is expected to continue leading the market as the demand for silicon metal is likely to rise in response to the economic growth, easy availability of cheap labors and raw material, and reduced power costs. The increasing building and construction activities in India and China will enable the Asia Pacific silicon metal market to report a strong growth.
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Besides this, the market is expected to witness moderate opportunities in North America and Latin America. The global silicon metal market is expected to reach US$3.4 bn by the end of 2024, rising at a CAGR of 5.2% between 2016 and 2024.
Rising Demand for Renewable Energy across Diverse Industries to Boost Silicon Metal Market
The focus on deriving energy from renewable sources has significantly risen in the recent years. Supported by favorable government regulations, this has resulted into increasing demand for solar panels across diverse industries. This in turn has translated into high demand for silicon metals. Solar panels are considered crucial applications of silicon metal hence growth witnessed in the solar energy industry fuels demand for silicon metal in response. Besides this, the market is also expected to gain impetus from the increasing use of aluminum alloys in transportation is also expected to augment demand for silicon metals.
On the flip side, the high cost of production is creating bottlenecks for most players in the global silicon market. The cost incurred on the production of silicon metal is determined by various parameters such as the cost of labor, raw materials, power, and transportation. Spike witnessed in any of these variables could increase the cost of silicon metal production. Additionally, volatility witnessed in raw material prices could also hamper the market’s growth.
Increasing Application across Diverse Segments to Fuel Demand for Silicon Metal
Silicon metals are used in solar panels, silicones and silanes, laboratory reagents, stainless steel, laboratory reagents, and others. Of these, application of silicon metal has significantly increased in aluminum alloys. This segment led the market with a share of 40% based on volume in 2015. Introducing silicon metal in aluminum alloys helps improving the latter’s thermal conductivity, castability, corrosion resistance, and machinability. This is a key factor driving the use of silicon metal in aluminum alloys for the past many years.
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Furthermore, the demand for silicon metals to be used in silicones and silanes has considerably increased in the last few years. The rising use of silicones in the manufacturing of various chemicals and materials used in building and construction, personal care products, plastics, electronics, and textiles has been fuelling demand for silicon metals from the silicones and silanes segment. The use of silicone metal in semiconductor is projected to increase as well. Properties of silicon such as low extraction and processing cost, easy doping, reduced temperature susceptibility, and low current leakage have made it the most preferred metal to be used in the production of semiconductors.
Driven by aforementioned the global silicon metal market is expected to rise at a significant pace.