Global supply chain squeeze, soaring costs threaten solar energy boom
Global solar power developers are slowing down project installations because of a surge in costs for components, labor, and freight as the world economy bounces back from the coronavirus pandemic, according to industry executives and analysts.
The situation suggests slower growth for the zero-emissions solar energy industry at a time world governments are trying to ramp up their efforts to fight climate change, and marks a reversal for the sector after a decade of falling costs. It also reflects yet another industry shaken up by the supply chain bottlenecks that have developed in the recovery from the coronavirus health crisis, which has businesses from electronics manufacturers to home improvement retailers experiencing huge delays in shipping along with soaring costs.
Among the biggest headwinds for solar is a tripling in prices for steel, a key component in racks that hold solar panels, and polysilicon, the raw material used in panels.
Soaring shipping freight rates along with higher costs for fuel, copper and labor are also pinching project costs, company executives said.