Rising demand for solar panels is pushing up the price of silver around the world.
That’s the verdict from a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Kent, which warns this could lead to the cost of producing solar panels soaring.
They say around 20 grams of silver is used in every panel, making up just more than 6% of the cost of building each device – it is used because of its high electrical and thermal conductivity.
From studying quarterly silver prices and looking to see how they correspond with historical data on installed solar capacity and production between 1990 and 2016, the authors of the report found the indication of a causal relationship between the two variables.
The researchers added that if silver prices continue to rise it could make panels far more expensive and they noted this could require the introduction of more subsidies and energy credits to encourage further adoption.
Lead Author of the report, Iraklis Apergis, said: “The research shows that silver price rises are directly linked to the increase in demand for solar panels.
“This will likely have major implications for the longer-term use of solar panels and may require new alternative technologies to ensure solar panel production is cost-effective or government subsidies.”