British analyst GlobalData has predicted residential and commercial rooftop panels will not return to a declining price trend until next year, with post-Covid logistics headaches the cause, rather than a polysilicon shortage.

With consumers being warned daily about inflation on everything from the weekly food shop to tabletop wargame miniatures, London-based analyst GlobalData has stated rooftop solar panels will be no exception.

With the pandemic and its knock-on effects on global supply chains having, since 2020, halted years of thumping panel price cost reductions, a report published today by GlobalData stated that as far as rooftop solar modules are concerned: “Cost is expected to moderately increase in 2022.”

Urban solar

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Interestingly, a note issued by the analyst to publicize its Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Market, 2021 – Global Market Size, Market Share, Major Trends, and Key Country Analysis to 2030 report did not point to last year’s shortage of panel raw material polysilicon as a reason for rising module prices.

GlobalData power analyst Attaurrahman Ojindaram Saibasan instead highlighted the fact post-Covid supply chain headaches had reduced the volume of solar cells and modules available for shipping, with delays in shipments confounded by shortages of workers due to pandemic-related restrictions on movement.

Basing its numbers on the 10-12 340W solar panels required to power a 1,200 square foot residence, GlobalData said the cost of rooftop arrays had fallen $600-900 per year from a level of around $9,300 in 2014 to $4,550 by the time Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill in 2020.

Last year, by contrast, the price of a rooftop system rebounded $700 to a level not seen since 2018, GlobalData said, and that increasing expense is not expected to be reversed this year.

Even when a return to falling rooftop solar prices arrives in 2023, the rest of the decade will be marked by costs that decline “gradually,” according to the analyst, as component costs retreat again, production volume is scaled up, and panel technology advances.

The study noted that with the world’s rooftop solar systems in 2020 roughly split a third for residential and two-thirds for commercial and industrial arrays, China accounted for 12.4% of the near-249GW of rooftop panel generation capacity installed by the end of that year.

That contribution helped Asia claim 53.5% of the world’s rooftop panels at the end of 2020, with 29.1% in Europe and 13.6% in the Americas, according to GlobalData.