Updated: Mar 1
The coronavirus outbreak is threatening to slow the global solar-energy revolution as it cuts the supply of key equipment for solar and wind farms in China and beyond.
If the virus outbreak lasts beyond the first quarter and spreads to more geographies, as is currently happening in Korea and Italy, then it may very well slow down global renewable energy deployment
While China is slowly starting to get back to work after an extended shutdown to contain the virus’ spread, many factories are still not at full capacity amid a lack of staff and raw materials.
The country leads the world both in installing new wind and solar farms and in producing photovoltaic panels used almost everywhere.
Some manufacturers are relying on production outside of China to cope. That’s especially true for two of the largest makers of inverters, which convert solar power into electricity for the grid.
SolarEdge Technologies Inc. said on an earnings call that increased capacity at factories in Hungary and Vietnam has helped it meet to customer demand. It expects, however, to do air shipments this quarter in part because of the coronavirus, which put pressures on gross margin.
Enphase Energy Inc. is boosting manufacturing of microinverters in Mexico as a backup in case of supply disruptions. It’s seeing some sign of constraint from goods coming from China.
it is expect a maximum of 43 gigawatts of solar installations this year from 45 gigawatts before. Its most pessimistic forecast is for 31 gigawatts compared with at least 37 gigawatts estimated previously.
Some of the other news from the corners: 1. PV production capacity has been hit in Jiangsu province, where more than 60% of China’s solar panels are made, according to the Gofa Institute.
2.In France, Claire Waysand, interim chief executive officer of the utility and developer Engie SA, said coronavirus will delay some solar and wind projects by “a few weeks” since some suppliers of PV panels and of blades for wind turbine are Chinese.