The solar industry is currently experiencing a shortage of panels in the face of an expected 29% rise in installments of panels this year. The scarcity will likely cause solar power to become more competitive. However, industry experts claim this is a natural movement not to be worried about-
Every industry goes through cycles,” Qu said. “It’s inevitable to see a cycle in solar.”
While the shortage will benefit the large manufacturers, it is likely the shortage will hurt consumers due as utility-scale solar farms take priority over small individual system. While financially it is advantageous to companies to prioritize its large customers, in doing so the market will weaken its fastest growing consumer base.
The solar panels shortage is indicative of the high expansion of solar power in the last few years. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the industry plans to install 52 gigwatts this year and 62 gigawatts next year. These figures represent a 52.5% increase in gigawatts installments between 2013 and 2016.
What does all this mean for consumers? According to Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy in San Francisco, this shortage is unlikely to cause a boost in prices due to the nature of solar panel production that allows manufacturers to increase profit without raising the actual price.
It would be difficult for module pricing to really go up because there isn’t going to be natural demand for those products at those higher price points… If you raise the price too much they’ll move on to something else. They’ll move on to gas, they’ll move on to wind.”
Despite current shortages, solar power continues to grow and develop more efficient production techniques that will benefit consumers in the future. Solar panels are no longer for large utility companies. We can expect to see more and more panels appearing on the rooftops of residential homes.
Read more here- “Solar Boom Driving First Global Panel Shortage Since 2006,” (Ehren Goossens, Bloomberg)
Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.