The ongoing revolution in green technologies, driven by the exponential growth of new energy vehicles (NEVs) and continued investment in solar photovoltaic energy, should further boost global industrial demand for silver over the next decade and beyond. These sectors, along with silver demand in nuclear power, are explored in a new report, The Role of Silver in the Green Revolution, released today by the Silver Institute.
The cost of installing and providing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems has fallen rapidly relative to other electrical energy sources over the past two decades. This is expected to continue over the medium-term, leading to an ever-increasing share in renewable energy generation and investment for PV, led by both macroeconomic/cost considerations and public policy. Silver’s importance to solar energy is well documented and the metal will continue to play a substantial role in this technology. It is estimated that roughly 820 million ounces (Moz) of silver will be utilized by global solar energy applications through 2030.
t’s “very much a fundamental story” for both metals, says Nikos Kavalis, founding partner of precious-metals consultancy Metals Focus. “Demand from the automotive sector has been growing as a result of tightening emissions legislation, most notably in China.” The majority of the world’s palladium and rhodium supplies are used in autos for catalytic converters, which control exhaust emissions. With every move higher in prices, “the pressure [and] interest increase for auto makers to find cheaper alternatives such as platinum,” says Wiebe. Platinum is “not interchangeable 1-for-1 [with palladium], but it does carry similar characteristics.” Platinum is mainly used in catalytic converters in diesel-powered vehicles, while palladium is used in the device for gasoline-powered vehicles.