Weekly Renewables MMI®: Silicon Price Gains, Tesla Invests in Li-ion Batteries

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Prices for silicon saw the biggest increase on the weekly Renewables MMI® this week, rising 0.7 percent. Chinese steel plate saw a 0.3 percent decline over the past week. The price of Chinese cobalt cathodes did not change since the previous week. Prices for neodymium remained constant.

Silicon and other metals and materials renewables received a boost from news out of California that Tesla Motors is investing $4-$5 billion in a new factory to double the world’s production of lithium-ion batteries. Not only would battery costs going down help the adoption of electric cars such as Tesla’s, but their relatively inexpensive availability would also help technologies such as solar and wind power to gain greater adoption as they could more easily store energy when there is no sun or wind.

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Renewable home energy technologies such solar and onshore wind are already coming down dramatically in price – the industry forecasts they will be cheaper than grid electricity in most of the world by 2025 – but having the ability to store energy has always been their disadvantage. After all, you want your lights on when the wind isn’t blowing. A cheap, effective battery solution is what’s needed for both to gain more widespread acceptance.

Meanwhile, back in the metal markets that supply the renewables industry, following a steady week, prices for Japanese steel plate closed flat. Korean steel plate traded sideways last week, hovering around a strong price. Chinese steel plate prices were off slightly, down from  a week ago. The week finished with no movement for US steel plate. US grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) continues hovering in place for the fifth day in a row.

* Get the complete prices every day on the MetalMiner IndX℠

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The Renewables MMI® collects and weights 8 metal price points used extensively within the renewable energy industry to provide a unique view into renewable energy metal price trends. For more information on the Renewables MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

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