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Did you know apart from investment purpose, silver also has great demand from industrial usages. Electronic components consumption is the largest among all. However what is worth mentioning is consumption of solar panels that are coming up fast and strong.
Photovoltaic technology is the backbone of the solar industry. Initially when it started, it did not even worth registering on silver demand charts before year 2000. The amount of silver consumed by solar panel makers has risen approximately 50% per year since that time. At the point of writing this (year 2013), solar panel accounts for 5.6% of all industrial silver use.
China, Japan and India
China (on 4th July) announced to raise China’s solar generating capacity from 21 gigawatts (GW) to 35 gigawatts (GW) by 2015. That is 67% higher from previous target which mean there will be a yearly addition of 10 GW from 2013 to 2015.
Japan will increase its solar generation capacity by about 5.3 GW in 2013. Japan’s domestic solar power market is expected to reach $19.8 billion, which mean Japan will pass Germany as the world’s largest solar market and overtake Germany as the world’s largest solar energy user.
India plans to increase its solar output to 20 GW by 2020, starting essentially from the scratch. On a worldwide basis, solar power generating capacity is projected to be 20 to 40 times the amount of current capacity by 2020.
What does it mean?
According to Silver Institute, making 1 megawatt of electricity requires up to 2.8 million oz of silver. If China and Japan do increase their solar generation capacity as much as they planned, which is total of about 27 GW. These 2 countries alone would require approximately 91 million oz of silver (or 2,824 tonnes of silver). That is equivalent to 11% of global mine supply by referring to 2012 numbers.
Why does this mean to us as precious metal investors? A simple answer would be that growing demand could crimp supply and push on prices.
If the world continues to produce as much silver as it did last year, while the demand in various industrial application are growing. Given currently low silver prices and increasing difficulties getting new mines permitted… The action to take is rather obvious: buy silver now! At current market price, it only takes less than RM100 to buy your 1st oz of silver.
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