Riesta Energy analysis shows that spikes in manufacturing materials and transportation costs could affect 50GW (56%) of the planned global utility PV development in 2022. Higher commodity prices and supply chain bottlenecks could lead to delays or even cancellations of some of these projects, impacting solar power demand and consumer pricing.
Driven by higher core module prices, the manufacturing cost of PV modules has spiked from a peak of less than $0.20 per watt (Wp) in 2020 to a peak of $0.26-$0.28 per Wp in the second half of 2021, an increase of nearly 50% in one year.
A key driver of this surge is a more than 300% increase in the cost of polysilicon (the core component of PV manufacturing). In addition, other raw materials (silver, copper, aluminum and glass) have steadily climbed since January 2020, adding pressure on module prices.
Just days before COP26, the utility solar industry is facing one of its toughest challenges," said David Dixon, senior renewable energy analyst at Raista Energy. The current bottleneck is not expected to ease in the next 12 months, meaning developers and offtakers will have to decide whether to reduce margins, delay projects or increase offtake prices to bring projects to financial close."
In addition to rising material costs, transportation is another element of the supply chain that poses significant challenges for developers and module suppliers. Transportation costs continue to rise and play a larger role in overall production capital expenditures. until 2021, PV transportation costs will have the least impact on overall production costs. However, transportation delays and bottlenecks during the epidemic have led to price increases of nearly 500%, from $0.005 per Wp in September 2019 to $0.03 per Wp in October 2021.