The Global Solar Power Boom Is Driving a Surge in Silver Demand – by Christian Moess Laursen (Wall Street Journal – May 7, 2024)

Miners are expanding their operations and ramping up production as prices for the precious metal climb to decade high

A booming solar-power industry is driving a surge in the demand for silver, which is needed in large quantities to make photovoltaic panels.

Silver is integral to the production of solar photovoltaic—or solar PV—panels because of its high electrical conductivity, thermal efficiency and optical reflectivity, and mining companies are aiming to boost output as prices for the precious metal have climbed to decade highs.

Global investment in solar PV manufacturing more than doubled last year to around $80 billion, accounting for around 40% of global investment in clean-technology manufacturing, according to a report out Monday from the International Energy Agency. China more than doubled its investment in solar photovoltaic manufacturing between 2022 and 2023.

Last year, global renewable capacity increased by 50% to nearly 510 gigawatts—the fastest growth rate in three decades—of which three-quarters came from solar photovoltaic energy, the agency said in a report in January.

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