Robust solar demand
The main driver of increased tellurium consumption is the growth in the cadmium telluride photovoltaic market, a subdivision of the thin-film solar industry consisting of tellurium and cadmium. This market accounts for about 30% of total tellurium consumption globally.
Announcements in 2018 from the world’s largest solar modules producer, First Solar, that it will expand its manufacturing plant in Vietnam by investing $830 million and build a Series 6 module manufacturing facility in the US state of Ohio have boosted tellurium price expectations.
“You would expect an increase in prices for a metal needed in a business such as solar, a business that is in good health and that is working,” a European tellurium trader said in late 2018.
“First Solar’s suppliers are creating a volcano effect,” he added. “They want to keep prices low but to attract and welcome more people in the market you need...