Precious metals should be taking a beating. Interest rate hikes and stronger-that-expected economic numbers were poised to harm gold prices, yet they’ve held steady through the storm and remain far higher than they were as recently as March. Meanwhile, silver has quietly become a go-to investment for Wall Street skeptics and the reason behind it may surprise some.
According to economist Peter Krauth, the rising solar industry is spiking demand for silver and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
“Solar alone is 12 percent of all silver demand every year, that was 140 million ounces last year,” Krauth said. “The forecasts are about 160 million ounces this year, which I believe are going to be dramatically outpaced when we see the final numbers about a year from now.”
While the obsession with “green” energy in the west sparked the demand for solar power in recent years, it’s China that is now driving both production and installation as many of its 1.4 billion citizens seek to join the western trend.
“Bloomberg believes that in 2023, China will install three times as much solar power as they did in 2021,” he said. “These are just tremendous numbers that are coming at us. I think that by the time we get to a year from now, and we see what the 2023 numbers turn out to be, I think 160 million ounces is going to look very, very conservative. It’s probably going to be closer to 180 or 200 million ounces.”
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It isn’t just increased demand for solar that’s prompting the silver boom. The newest solar technologies are very silver-dependent, more so than their predecessors. So whether through new installations or upgrades, solar systems that rely on silver are being put up as quickly as they can be built. The predominant solar panel technology in use today is the passivated emitter and rear contact (PERC) cell, but this design is being replaced by two newer and more efficient technologies: tunnel oxide passivated contact (TOPCon) and heterojunction structures (HJT).
“In 2023, 80% of all new solar panel production will be those two technologies,” he said. “As manufacturers produce additional capacity, they’re going to be investing, 80% of this new capacity will be these two new technologies, which require 50 to 150 percent more silver.”
Whether one believes in solar power or not, the demand is clearly there. Many who are seeking to protect their wealth or retirement are looking to silver as a safe haven that can weather the coming economic storms. Both Our Gold Guy and Genesis Gold Group can help by personalizing their customers’ metal selection. Today, many are looking at silver even as gold continues to demonstrate strength as well.