Renewable energy sources, such as solar power, are big users of copper in the power cables and grounding wires. Now according to a presentation at the National Solar Conference this past summer, “Estimated Copper Demand from Projected Solar Electric Generating Capacity,” an increase in solar power generation will have a positive effect on copper demand.
“Solar panels over large-scale areas require installing miles of copper grounding and copper-centric power cables,” notes Zolaikha Strong, director of sustainable energy for the Copper Development Association, who presented the findings at the conference. “By 2020, we estimate that 150 [million] to 410 million pounds of copper will be used in these systems.”
The CDA study notes that investment in solar power is expected to grow from $91 billion in 2013 to $158 billion by 2023. That’s a lot of copper wiring.