'Diversification is a have to': IEA cautions on China's expanding dominance of solar PV supply chain

Jul 8, 2022 04:42 PM ET
  • A safe change to net zero exhausts around the world will require countries to expand and also broaden the production of solar modules, whose supply chains are heavily concentrated in China, according to new research from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
'Diversification is a have to': IEA cautions on China's expanding dominance of solar PV supply chain
Image: First Solar

The research study stated that with worldwide solar deployment needing to grow at an extraordinary scale, this will certainly demand a "significant added development in manufacturing capacity", elevating worries concerning the world's ability to swiftly develop resilient supply chains.

Having actually spent 10 times more than Europe in new PV supply capacity since 2011, China's share in all PV module production stages-- polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and modules-- surpasses 80%, located the research study, the initial of its kind executed by the IEA.

Entitled 'Special Report on Solar PV Global Supply Chains', the research study exposed the world will practically entirely count on China for the supply of key foundation for solar panel production by 2025, with the country's share of global polysilicon, ingot and wafer production anticipated to quickly reach practically 95%.

" Our company believe this degree of focus in any kind of worldwide supply chain would represent a considerable vulnerability," Fatih Birol, executive director at the IEA, claimed throughout a press webinar this morning. "It is a must, in my view, to expand. Otherwise, we might see significant obstacles in the days, months and years ahead."

China is the most cost-competitive location to make all components of the solar PV supply chain, according to the IEA, with prices in the country 10% less than in India, 20% lower than in the United States as well as 35% lower than in Europe. This is clarified by huge variations in energy, work, investment and also expenses expenses.

In the absence of monetary incentives as well as making assistance, the bankability of producing projects beyond panel assembly "remains restricted outside of China and few nations in Southeast Asia", the report checks out.

"Governments need to create targeted policy initiatives. As well as right here, obviously, a key issue is how to bring the price to attract the financial investment," Birol stated. He asked for countries to introduce "imaginative policies", such as giving producing tax incentives or support to establish manufacturing plants in commercial clusters to lower land costs.

The IEA kept in mind that federal governments around the world have actually started to pay raising focus to solar PV's production supply chains as high commodity rates and supply chain traffic jams have led to a cost increase of around 20% for solar panels over the last year together with delayed distributions.

Silver shortages could be a headwind encountering the industry in the future, the research said, with need for the steel in solar PV manufacturing in 2030 potentially exceeding 30% of total global silver production in 2020, up from about 10% today. This fast growth, integrated with long lead times for mining projects, raises the risk of supply and need mismatches, which can result in cost increases.

To be on the right track with the IEA's path of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, the agency stated worldwide manufacturing capacity for polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and also modules would certainly need to more than double by 2030 and existing production centers would certainly need to be modernised.

Although development led by China has cut in half the exhausts intensity of solar PV manufacturing considering that 2011, outright co2 emissions from solar PV production have practically quadrupled worldwide as manufacturing has actually expanded in the nation, according to the research study.

The IEA disclosed that coal generates more than 60% of the electrical energy utilized for international solar PV manufacturing, considerably greater than its share in global power generation (36%). This is largely because PV manufacturing is focused in China-- mostly in the provinces of Xinjiang and also Jiangsu where coal make up more than 75% of the power supply.

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