The world needs more diverse solar panel supply chains to ensure a safe transition to net-zero emissions – News
Ensuring a safe transition to net-zero emissions will require increased efforts to expand and diversify global production of solar panels whose global supply chains are currently heavily concentrated in China, the IEA said in a new special report released today. today.
Chinese industrial and innovation policies focused on expanding solar panel production and markets have helped solar PV become the most affordable power generation technology in many parts of the world. However, it has also led to imbalances in solar PV supply chains, according to the IEA Special Report on Global Solar PV Supply Chainsthe first study of this type carried out by the Agency.
Global solar panel manufacturing capacity has increasingly moved from Europe, Japan and the United States over the past decade to China, which has taken the lead in investment and development. ‘innovation. China’s share in all key stages of solar panel manufacturing exceeds 80% today, according to the report, and for key components, including polysilicon and wafers, it is expected to reach over 95% in the years to come, based on current manufacturing capacity. In construction.
“China has been instrumental in reducing global solar PV costs, with multiple benefits for clean energy transitions,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “At the same time, the level of geographic concentration in global supply chains also poses potential challenges for governments to address. Accelerating clean energy transitions around the world will put additional pressure on these supply chains to meet growing demand, but it also presents opportunities for other countries and regions to help diversify production and make it more sustainable. more resilient.
To meet international energy and climate goals, the global deployment of solar PV must grow on an unprecedented scale. This in turn requires a major further expansion of manufacturing capacity, raising concerns about the world’s ability to rapidly develop resilient supply chains. For example, annual solar photovoltaic capacity additions to electric systems around the world need to more than quadruple by 2030 to be on track with the IEA’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Capacity Global production for the main building blocks of solar panels – polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and modules – is expected to more than double by 2030 from current levels and existing production facilities should be upgraded.
“As countries accelerate their efforts to reduce emissions, they need to ensure that their transition to a sustainable energy system rests on a secure foundation,” Dr Birol said. “Global solar PV supply chains will need to be extended in ways that ensure they are resilient, affordable and sustainable.”
Governments and other stakeholders around the world have begun to pay increasing attention to solar PV manufacturing supply chains, as high raw material prices and supply chain bottlenecks have led to a about 20% increase in solar panel prices over the past year. These challenges — particularly apparent in the market for polysilicon, a key material for making solar panels — have led to delays in solar PV deliveries across the world and higher prices. The IEA special report argues that these challenges require even greater attention and effort from policy makers in the future.
The report examines solar PV supply chains from raw materials to finished product, covering areas such as energy consumption, emissions, employment, production costs, investment, trade and financial performance. He finds, for example, that the electricity-intensive manufacturing of solar photovoltaics today is mostly powered by fossil fuels because of the predominant role of coal in regions of China where production is concentrated – but that the panels solar still only need to operate for four to eight months to offset their manufacturing emissions. This brief payback period compares to the average lifespan of solar panels of around 25 to 30 years. Increasing decarbonization of electricity supplies and greater diversification of solar PV supply chains should both help reduce this footprint in the future, the report notes.
Because diversification is one of the key strategies for reducing supply chain risk globally, the special report assesses the opportunities and challenges of developing solar PV supply chains in terms of job creation , investment requirements, manufacturing costs, emissions and recycling. It finds that new solar PV manufacturing facilities along the global supply chain could attract $120 billion in investment by 2030. And the solar PV sector has the potential to double the number of photovoltaic panel manufacturing jobs to 1 million by 2030, with the most jobs. intensive fields in the manufacture of modules and cells.
The special report summarizes the policy approaches that governments have taken to support domestic manufacturing of solar photovoltaic panels and highlights priority areas for action to improve security of supply and address key challenges such as environmental sustainability and social security, investment risks and cost competitiveness.