Demand for Solar Panels Drains Supply

July 29, 2010

Solar panel installationBelieve it or not, there may not be enough solar panels in the manufacturing pipeline to meet the demand! With recent incentive programs and the rising cost of energy, solar is becoming more popular than ever, and suppliers can’t keep up. Is this a dream come true for the solar industry, or a nightmare?

Two Oregon suppliers, Sanyo and SolarWorld, have a backlog of work that will take them into the new year. “We haven’t had enough supply to meet our own demand for some time,” says Aaron Fowles, spokesman for Sanyo. “We’ve been doing all we can to expand our facilities and bring production closer to our markets.”

So what does this mean for the market for solar? International suppliers are now aggressively marketing their products to American suppliers and installers. Northwest Solar Solutions, a Portland, Oregon solar installer, receives several calls each day from companies overseas offering their products.

This competition from outside will hopefully encourage stateside manufacturers to ramp up production and develop new technology to make panels more efficient. And with a recent feed-in tariff program starting in Oregon, and other incentives being offered throughout the country, the demand should not be falling off any time soon.

All of this spells good news for the new “green economy.” And we all know we could use more good news.

Photo courtesy of Wayne National Forest through a Creative Commons License.



Dawn Killough

has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon.