Renewables Falter at Year’s End, Still a Positive Outlook for 2015

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The monthly Renewables MMI® registered a value of 62 in December, a decrease of 3.1% from 64 in November.

Renewables_Chart_December-2014_FNL

While our renewable energy materials index recorded a loss in this final month of the year, its steady, if not spectacular, performance over 2014 – staying between 62 and 67 the entire year bodes well for 2015 growth.

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2015 is being described as a tipping point year for solar power as Deutsche Bank predicts that by the end of it solar power will be as cheap or cheaper than gas or coal-fired power in 47 of the 50 states, a situation known as grid parity. While silicon has generally fallen most of this year despite widespread solar adoption across much of the US, higher demand for roof-mounted crystalline silicon solar photovoltaic panels could be the robust market driver that silicon needs to have a strong year. A cooling of the proxy trade war over the panels that plagued US end users for most of this year will certainly help, too.

The Breakout?

Worldwide demand for renewable technologies is still strong, including hybrid car batteries and electrical steel for energy transmission of wind and solar power. India has secured $2.5 billion in investment funds in an attempt to meet its goal of 20% of electrical power from wind, solar and hydroelectric by 2020, including a promise of 1,000 MW in wind power by 20202.  Investment remains strong in the industries popping up to serve Americans’ renewable energy providers.

One such provider is QBotix, which optimizes solar panel performance using robotic trackers that can sense maximum light potential and adjust the angle of each PV panel accordingly.

A combination of lower prices for renewable energy, higher adoption and easier-to-service systems could make 2015 the year the renewables IndX rises out of its steady but low performance.

 What This Means for Renewable Materials Buyers

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A 11.5% decline for silicon left the price at CNY 12,300 ($2,002) per metric ton. Chinese cobalt cathodes prices fell 4.8% to $35,745 per metric ton. The price of US steel plate closed the month at $816.00 per short ton after dropping 4.0%. The price of neodymium fell 3.4% to $56,054 per metric ton. The price of Chinese steel plate drifted 1.2% lower to $531.30 per metric ton.

US grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) reached $2,731 per metric ton after a 4.2% increase.

Last month was consistent for Korean steel plate, which did not move from $811.10 per metric ton. Japanese steel plate traded sideways last month, staying around $642.30 per metric ton.

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 over a 30-day period. 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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