Norwegian analyst Rystad Energy has warned the solar industry could suffer the same effects of rising input prices as onshore wind developers grappling with ever more costly steel, with much hinging on how much solar panel raw material polysilicon can be manufactured.
With utility scale solar investment and hydrogen and battery storage capacity all expected to leap this year, Norwegian analyst Rystad Energy is hoping an anticipated rise in polysilicon production facilities will head off the harmful effects of rising commodity prices.
The Oslo-based data company is expecting the polysilicon industry to attain more than a million tons of annual production capacity this year to keep a lid on solar panel prices which leapt in 2021, in part thanks to a shortage of the raw material.
The new poly capacity, though, may not come soon enough to head off what Rystad described as a “potential downturn” in new big solar projects, “at least for the first half of the year,” with the analyst noting the dampening effect rising steel prices are having on the onshore wind sector.
The warning was issued in a note released by Rystad on Thursday in which the analyst predicted 220GW of new large scale renewable energy project capacity will arrive this year, including 12GW of battery capacity, more than 400MW of hydrogen production facilities, and an 18% rise in solar project spending, from $117 billion last year to $138 billion this.
Rystad stated solar makes up the biggest proportion of the 195GW of that total, 2022 renewables project figure which is already under construction, with PV laying claim to 46% of the capacity which is taking shape. Almost half of the projects which have already broken ground this year are in Asia, according to Rystad, chiefly in China and India.