Solar energy development is increasing demand for copper required for wiring and ground cabling for these installations, says a new study commissioned by the Copper Development Association (CDA).
The study evaluates the U.S.' growing energy demand and the opportunities it presents for installers of solar photovoltaic power systems and copper suppliers. Copper usage is four to six times higher for renewables compared to fossil fuels or nuclear, the report says.
‘Solar panels over large-scale areas require installing miles of copper grounding and copper centric power cables,’ says Zolaikha Strong, director of sustainable energy for the CDA. ‘By 2020, we estimate that 150 to 410 million lbs. of copper will be used in these systems.’
She estimates that solar power projects could produce an annual demand for copper ranging from 16.2 million to 46.3 million lbs.
Strong presented highlights of the report at the July's SOLAR 2014 conference held in conjunction with Intersolar North America in San Francisco. The study was conducted by BBF Associates and Konrad J.A. Kundig.