Business: Sand Trap

Will the silicon shortage stunt the solar industry's growth?

By Alan Joch

Illustration by Koren Shadmi

HIGH OIL PRICES, growing interest in alternative energy, and decades of R&D all mean boom times for the solar industry, right? Not quite. Just when solar-panel sales should be skyrocketing, the industry finds itself grappling with a nagging shortage of polysilicon, the key ingredient in photovoltaic solar cells. Tight supplies are frustrating panel makers and causing investors to balk at backing public companies.
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Issue 25

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