A scarcity of glass is making photo voltaic panels costlier and delaying manufacturing, hurting China’s high producers.
The world’s largest solar energy firm says a scarcity of glass is elevating prices and delaying manufacturing of recent panels, throwing a wrench into China’s plans to speed up its shift to scrub energy.
Prices for glass that coats photovoltaic panels have risen 71% since July, and producers are struggling to supply it quick sufficient to maintain greater than per week’s price of gross sales in stock, in response to Daiwa Capital Markets. The scarcity comes because the photo voltaic trade turns towards bifacial panels, which improve each energy output and glass necessities.
Solar panel producers like Longi Green Energy Technology Co. have requested the federal government in China, house to most photo voltaic manufacturing, to handle the scenario by approving new factories. Otherwise value hikes threat making solar energy too costly and halting the trade’s momentum.
“If solar power generators see solar projects as uneconomical, they will delay investing in new projects and that will drag down solar demand,” mentioned Charles Jiang, common supervisor of the availability chain administration middle at Longi, the world’s largest photo voltaic firm by market capitalization. “Solar power plant profits will drop below acceptable levels without government subsidies if glass makers go on to push up the costs.”
In 2018, with the power intensive and polluting glass trade going through over-capacity points, China’s authorities forbade firms from including new manufacturing capability. Longi and 5 different main photo voltaic firms on Tuesday met with authorities officers and appealed for them to take away the restrictions, a minimum of for photo voltaic glass.
Glass demand has additionally been rising throughout the photo voltaic trade due to the growing prominence of bifacial panels, which coat each the highest and backside with glass, permitting for a slight uptick in energy technology from daylight mirrored off the bottom. Such panels are anticipated to make up half the market in 2022, up from about 14% final yr, in response to analysts at Sunwah Kingsway.
Solar glass producers have soared this yr, with Xinyi Solar Holdings Ltd. greater than doubling and Flat Glass Group Co. practically quadrupling in market worth in Hong Kong. Shares plummeted Wednesday on hypothesis that capability controls might be lifted and as a Democrat sweep within the U.S. elections didn’t materialize. They rose Thursday together with different producers as a win for Joe Biden and a greener agenda within the U.S. grew to become extra probably. Flat Glass gained as a lot as 17% whereas Xinyi was up as a lot as 9.9%.
Xinyi and Flat Glass didn’t reply to requests for remark, though Xinyi officers informed Citigroup analysts the corporate may defend its market share with sooner capability growth than others if restrictions are lifted.
For panel makers, glass now accounts for about 20% of the entire value of manufacturing, up from about 10%, Longi’s Jiang mentioned. Because glass factories take so lengthy to construct, the photo voltaic trade might be 20% to 30% in need of the glass it wants subsequent yr, with the market not being again in steadiness till 2022, he mentioned.
The scarcity is coming at an inopportune time as photo voltaic builders are speeding to complete initiatives by the top of this yr to safe authorities subsidies. It additionally threatens to halt momentum simply because the Chinese authorities considers growing renewable energy additions because the nation goals to rein in air pollution and change into carbon impartial by 2060.