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Six Hundred Million Ounces of Silver to be Consumed in Photovoltaics and Ethylene Oxide Production Through  2020

“... the decrease in silver usage does not

necessarily lead to a decrease in total silver

consumption from the PV industry. The predicted

significant increase in PV capacity... will more

than offset the negative effect of thrifting.”

The use of silver in photovoltaic (PV) cells and as a
catalyst to produce ethylene oxide will together account  for 120 million ounces per year of consumption on  average from 2016 to 2020, an increase of 32% over 2015  levels, according to a report issued by The Silver Institute  in December.
The report notes: “On average, we expect that the PV
industry will consume 114 million ounces of silver
annually during the next five years.” The consumption of  silver for ethylene oxide will average almost 6 million ounces annually. For both photovoltaics and ethylene  oxide together consumption is expected to reach almost  600 million ounces through 2020, according to CRU  Consulting, a global commodities consultancy, which  produced the 26-page report for the Silver Institute.  Photovoltaic demand for silver in 2018 is expected to  be about 75% greater than in 2015. This increase is due in part to stricter government emissions standards and the increasing efficiency of PV electricity generation compared to fossil fuels. “The increase in renewablesources of energy, especially solar power, will lead to an increasing demand for silver,” the report notes. “Silver is consumed in the manufacturing of solar panels for the photovoltaic (PV) generation of power from the sun’s energy.
A high silver content layer is pasted on the front
side of a silicon solar cell, as well as a lower silver content layer on the rear side.”


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