June 14, 2023

Photovoltaics (PV) is the conversion of light into electricity.

Two technologies currently dominate global solar PV markets and supply chains: crystalline silicon (c-Si) modules account for over 95% while cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film PV technology makes up the remaining 5%.

Polysilicon is a key material for c-Si technology and currently the bottleneck for the industry.

Main steps in the process of making solar panels:

Solar Panel Supply Chain by Region

China dominates every stage of the solar panel industry accounting for almost 80% of all Polysilicon manufacturing and 75% of solar photovoltaic modules.

India ranks second with just 3% of solar module manufacturing and 1% of cell manufacturing although their PV module manufacturing capacity has more than doubled from 18 GW in 2022 to 38 GW in 2023.

When comparing manufacturing capacity to demand, there is a clear imbalance on a country-by-country basis.

China has considerably more capacity than it requires while the reverse is true for most other countries.


  1. IEA (2022, July), Special Report on Solar PV Global Supply Chain. https://iea.blob.core.windows.net/assets/d2ee601d-6b1a-4cd2-a0e8-db02dc64332c/SpecialReportonSolarPVGlobalSupplyChains.pdf
  2. Conte N. (2022, August, 30), Visualizing China’s Dominance in the Solar Panel Supply Chain. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-chinas-dominance-in-the-solar-panel-supply-chain/
  3. Fernández L. (2023, February, 8), Global PV module manufacturing share 2021 by country. https://www.statista.com/statistics/668749/regional-distribution-of-solar-pv-module-manufacturing/