As India dons the role of a solar superpower, a crucial hurdle in the country’s journey to self-reliance in this sector is the availability of the key raw material—polysilicon. It is a semiconductor that helps convert photons to electricity, thereby forming the brick of solar cells. The production of polysilicon—an energy-intensive material—requires copious amounts of high-quality silicon. While silicon is abundantly found in India and the rest of the world, competition for the mineral is extremely high. This is due to its wide range of applications, such as in electronics, semiconductor, and glass industries. The recent Ministry of Mines report on critical materials lists silicon as a highly critical mineral. This sought-after mineral when coupled with high-purity requirements for polysilicon manufacturing makes polysilicon a very critical material for solar energy transition.
This technical note discusses pertinent points regarding domestic polysilicon manufacturing and levers that promote and may derail it.