Global

Solar's growth stumbles just as the world needs it most

Cracks are emerging in the global solar industry, threatening to flatten its growth trajectory just as the world needs clean power more than ever.

Employees manufacture photovoltaic modules at the Longi Green Energy Technology Co. solar panel factory in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China. Foto: Bloomberg photo by Qilai Shen

The sector is being slammed by a barrage of obstacles, with rising materials costs, forced labor accusations and a worsening trade war all hitting at once. As a result, panel prices are rising for the first time in years, and some manufacturers have asked buyers to delay purchases if they can. And although annual installations are still ticking higher, Wall Street warns the pace of expansion may slow sharply if those hurdles continue unchecked.

"The shocks to the system in the last two to three months are more or less unprecedented," said Jenny Chase, an analyst with BloombergNEF. "We need to get to net zero as soon as possible, and to do that we just need so much solar and wind. We're not on track; we need to ramp all this stuff up dramatically."..

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