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Global solar panel shortage caused by boom in industry



The solar industry is now facing a global shortage in photovoltaic panels, the shortage is expected to slow growth in the smaller domestic market, raising fears over its survival.

The industry was previously experiencing a slump in sales, but the oversupply of solar panels since 2010 has managed to lower market prices, making the technology more readily available and has inspired continued growth.

The larger, predominantly Chinese distributors are expected to benefit the most, as they now retain power over who they choose to supply the panels to, which will be in high demand. Market leaders are expecting a 29% surge in demand, leaving executives struggling to plan ahead for the expected shortfall.

The still growing domestic market, however, which is still reliant on huge growth and investment, is likely to suffer the most, as distributors continue to supply larger commercial projects over rooftop solar PV.

The international solar market has rapidly grown since its predicted demise before 2010, with expected instillations of up to 52 gigawatts this year and 61 gigawatts in 2015. This is a 12 gigawatt increase from last year and seven times what was demanded five years ago, according to Bloomberg Finance.

The added capacity of solar projects forced a lot of businesses into bankruptcy as larger developers invested billions into the industry, lowering share prices. Now that demand has evened out with production, the expected shortfall is expected to push the industry into far larger profit margins.

Recent reports have also indicated that solar is expected to compete with fossil fuels far more competitively over the coming years, with Citigroup describing the future of the industry as “increasingly bright”. 

Photo source: Activ Solar via Flickr

Further Reading:

Domestic solar panels as an investment

Investment conundrum: solar panels or a pension?

Solar energy investment ‘coming of age’ and attracting institutional investors

DECC plans to scrap solar farm subsidy will ‘undermine investment’

Solar power: renewable energy’s ‘more acceptable face’