Silver Institute: PV, EO Silver Use To Rise Sharply By 2020By Kitco News
Thursday December 15, 2016 10:22
(Kitco News) - The use of silver for photovoltaic cells and ethylene oxide will rise by roughly one-third from 2015 to 2020, according to a report issued Thursday by the Silver Institute.
Photovoltaic cells are used to make solar panels, while ethylene oxide is used as a part of the production of plastics and chemicals. These two uses of silver will collectively consume an average of 120 million ounces of silver per year from 2016 to 2020, an increase of 32% compared to 2015, the Silver Institute said.
The author of the report was CRU Consulting, a global commodities consultancy. The Silver Institute is an industry association headquartered in Washington, D.C. Its members include silver producers, refiners, manufacturers and dealers.
“There are many reasons to be positive about demand for silver in photovoltaic (PV) cells,” the Silver Institute said. “The number of solar panel installations is forecasted to rise steadily in the coming years as a result of a combination of carbon-emissions legislation, government policies and a decrease in the cost per gigawatt of electricity generated using PV. This will bring about substantially increased silver consumption despite slow and steady declines in the amount of silver used per individual solar panel.”
In particular, the report projected that 2018 will be a bumper year for PV silver demand due to the expected construction of a record number of solar arrays. The Silver Institute said that silver PV use in 2018 is expected to roughly 75% greater than in 2015.
Ethylene oxide is a raw material for a number of plastic and chemical products, the most important of which is ethylene glycol, used in the production of antifreeze coolants and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a resin of the polyester family used in fibers for clothing as well as plastic bottles and food containers, the Silver Institute explained.
“EO requirements are also expected to increase as the market for antifreeze continues to grow,” the Silver Institute said. “Car usage is expected to increase through 2020, with China leading the way, and Europe and North America projected to maintain their current high vehicle usage rates. The combined pull of PET packaging and automotive use will boost underlying growth in EO consumption, with a projected 30 million ounces of silver demand targeted to EO through 2020.”