The recent explosive growth of Photovoltaics and the relative avidity for silicon of the predominant solar cell technology have resulted in a dramatic change of the polysilicon industry structure. While in the past the polysilicon was manufactured almost exclusively for the semiconductor industry, now more than half of the market is devoted to the solar industry. The different alternative routes to purify silicon for photovoltaic applications are presented in the paper, analysing their advantages and drawbacks. Emphasis is made on the CENTESIL initiative, a new private-public partnership venture promoting a pilot plant that is in an advanced state of construction. The goal is to allow the photovoltaic companies worldwide to count with an independent research centre to help them to establish their own polysilicon plant.