One knock on effect of the dot-com bust was an oversupply of polycrystalline silicon. The low prices gave a boost to the photovoltaic industry and increased margins and profits even as unit prices came down. Now, however, the price is on the way up again. The industry has two factors protecting it, the fact that a great deal of solar power installation is legislated for or subsidised and the increase in efficiency and systems that use no silicon at all.
Because of all the reselling, reprocessing, and recycling in the silicon industry, silicon producers don’t keep track of what happens to the silicon once they sell it, he said. “No one on the planet understands what is happening with the silicon supply,” [Rogol] said.