Silver prices traded slightly lower in the first half of 2021, but the Sprott Physical Silver Trust (PSLV) can bounce back with assistance from the burgeoning renewable energy industry.
A variety of clean energy concepts need silver to run, and that group includes residential and commercial photovoltaic (PV) solar panels – among the fastest-growing segments of the green energy landscape. Silver is vital in the production of those panels.
“Silver is a significant PV panel material. Solar companies turn silver into a paste, loading it into each silicon wafer. When sunlight reaches a panel, silicon sets electrons free. Silver carries electricity through a current, reaching a building or battery for storage,” reports Jane Marsh for Resource World Magazine.
While last year’s surge in silver prices forced some PV panel manufacturers to reduce the amount of silver found in those products, the fact remains that the metal is an ideal conductor and it’s unlikely PV makers will find a suitable alternative anytime soon. Said differently, silver’s place in the solar components hierarchy isn’t just vital; it’s secure. Silver offers other benefits to the solar industry.
“Silver is the most electricity-conducting metal on the planet. It defines the conductivity scale, holding the 100 level productivity placement, with 0 being the least efficient. The material is relatively fire-safe, too, meaning it lacks the easy ability to spark,” according to Resource World.
Silver’s usage in the solar space extends beyond just the panels that folks see on rooftops. For example, the metal, owing to its superior conductivity, is used in solar cells. Manufacturers break it down, turn silver powder into paste, which is then loaded onto silicon wafers.
There’s another clean energy technology that needs silver: electric vehicles (EVs). The average electric vehicle needs 25 to 50 grams of silver compared, as compared with 15 to 28 grams needed for internal combustion engine vehicles.
“Automakers today are increasingly relying on silver to enable the vast technological advances incorporated into modern vehicles. This has resulted in another powerful demand center for silver, with projections of nearly 90 million ounces (Moz) of silver absorbed annually in the automotive industry by 2025,” said the Silver Institute in a report out earlier this year.
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The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.