An unexpected surge in demand for silicon, mainly from the solar energy industries in China, Europe, and the United States, has lead to large deficits and fuelled a price rally that shows no signs of abating. Silicon prices have climbed to around $4,000 a tonne in all three locations, the highest on record, from levels below $2,000 a tonne at the start of the fourth quarter last year. Silicon prices Silicon is made from silica or sand, abundant on the earth’s crust. But processing capacity for greenfield developments can take two to three years once permits and financing are in place. And restarting idled capacity could take three to six months, likely longer if a plant has been closed for a long time, according to CRU analyst Jorn de Linde “Silicon prices have been soaring as recent output curbs in China have made supply […]