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Half of world’s planned solar projects in 2022 at risk due to rising costs

A new report has warned that more than half of the 90GW of large-scale solar projects planned for development next year could be delayed or even cancelled, due to a combination of supply chain bottlenecks and price rises.

Rystad Energy estimates that a total of 50 gigawatts of big solar projects, or 56% of  the world’s 2022 pipeline are at risk as the cost of solar PV modules surged as high as $US0.28 per Watt peak (Wp) in the second half of 2021 – the highest levels since 2017.

“The utility solar industry is facing one of its toughest challenges just days ahead of COP26,” said David Dixon, an Australian-based senior renewables analyst at Rystad Energy.

“The current bottlenecks are not expected to be relieved within the next 12 months, meaning developers and off-takers will have to decide whether to reduce their margins, delay projects or increase off-take prices to get projects to financial close.”

In shipping alone, Rystad says there has been a near 500% increase in prices from $0.005 per Wp in September 2019 to $0.03 per Wp in October 2021, taking them from being up to a third of total project capex to the single-largest item of a project’s cost.

Combined, the price increases have seen the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for different plant sizes jump by between 10 and 15 per cent, Rystad said, leaving some project developers forced to absorb the added costs themselves.