IEA Releases Special Report on Variety of Solar Panel Supply Chain


Dr. Fatih Birol

Chinese industrial and innovation insurance policies centered on increasing solar panel manufacturing and markets have helped solar PV develop into probably the most reasonably priced electrical energy technology expertise in lots of components of the world. However, this has additionally led to imbalances in solar PV provide chains, in response to the International Energy Agency Special Report on Solar PV Global Supply Chains, the primary examine of its type by the company.

The report analyzing solar PV provide chains from uncooked supplies all the best way to the completed product, protecting areas akin to energy consumption, emissions, employment, manufacturing prices, funding, commerce and monetary efficiency.

It finds, for instance, that the electricity-intensive manufacturing of solar PV is generally powered by fossil fuels right now due to the outstanding function of coal within the components of China the place manufacturing is concentrated – however that solar panels nonetheless solely have to function for 4 to eight months to offset their manufacturing emissions. This transient payback interval compares with the common solar panel lifetime of round 25 to 30 years. Increasing decarbonization of electrical energy provides and better diversification of solar PV provide chains ought to each assist cut back this footprint sooner or later, the report notes.

China has pushed down solar PV manufacturing prices, serving to spur the important expertise’s success whereas on the identical time leading to a serious focus of worldwide PV provides

Ensuring a safe transition to internet zero emissions would require elevated efforts to broaden and diversify world manufacturing of solar panels whose world provide chains are presently closely concentrated in China, the IEA states.

Global manufacturing capability for solar panels has more and more moved out of Europe, Japan and the United States during the last decade and into China, which has taken the lead on funding and innovation. China’s share in all the important thing manufacturing levels of solar panels exceeds 80% right now, in response to the report, and for key parts together with polysilicon and wafers, that is set to rise to greater than 95% within the coming years, primarily based on present manufacturing capability below building.

“China has been instrumental in bringing down costs worldwide for solar PV, with multiple benefits for clean energy transitions,” says Fatih Birol, IEA’s govt director. “At the same time, the level of geographical concentration in global supply chains also poses potential challenges that governments need to address. Accelerating clean energy transitions around the world will put further strain on these supply chains to meet growing demand, but this also offers opportunities for other countries and regions to help diversify production and make it more resilient.”

Meeting worldwide energy and local weather objectives requires the worldwide deployment of solar PV to develop on an unprecedented scale. This in flip calls for a serious further growth in manufacturing capability, elevating issues in regards to the world’s potential to quickly develop resilient provide chains. For instance, annual additions of solar PV capability to electrical energy techniques around the globe have to greater than quadruple by 2030 to be on observe with the IEA’s pathway to reaching internet zero emissions by 2050. Global manufacturing capability for the important thing constructing blocks of solar panels – polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and modules – would want to greater than double by 2030 from right now’s ranges and present manufacturing services would have to be modernized.

“As countries accelerate their efforts to reduce emissions, they need to ensure that their transition towards a sustainable energy system is built on secure foundations,” Dr Birol provides. “Solar PV’s global supply chains will need to be scaled up in a way that ensures they are resilient, affordable and sustainable.”

Governments and different stakeholders around the globe have begun to pay rising consideration to solar PV’s manufacturing provide chains as excessive commodity costs and provide chain bottlenecks have led to a rise of round 20% in solar panel costs during the last 12 months. These challenges – notably obvious out there for polysilicon, a key materials for making solar panels – have resulted in delays in solar PV deliveries throughout the globe and better costs. The IEA particular report argues that these challenges name for even better consideration and efforts by coverage makers going ahead.

Because diversification is without doubt one of the key methods for decreasing provide chain dangers worldwide, the particular report assesses the alternatives and challenges of growing solar PV provide chains when it comes to job creation, funding necessities, manufacturing prices, emissions and recycling. It finds that new solar PV manufacturing services alongside the worldwide provide chain may entice USD 120 billion of funding by 2030. And the solar PV sector has the potential to double the variety of PV manufacturing jobs to 1 million by 2030, with probably the most job-intensive areas within the manufacturing of modules and cells.

The particular report summarizes coverage approaches that governments have taken to assist home solar PV manufacturing and highlights precedence areas for motion to enhance safety of provide and to handle key challenges akin to environmental and social sustainability, funding dangers and value competitiveness.


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