The Rise Of Solar: A Unique Opportunity For Copper

http://issues.solarindustrymag.com/article/rise-solar-unique-opportunity-copper`

Copper is essential to powering solar PV systems and other clean energy technology, including wind turbines, energy storage systems and electric vehicles. A wind farm can contain between 4 million and 15 million pounds of the metal used for generators, wiring, tubing, cable and step-up transformers. The surrounding infrastructure that connects this technology to the electrical grid also uses copper to run reliably and efficiently.

With regard to PV systems, copper is vital for the collection, storage and distribution of solar energy. Copper’s natural properties of high conductivity and durability increase the efficiency and performance of photovoltaic cells and modules. It is relied upon to conduct amperes and to connect voltages to the grid; in some cases, copper is needed to drive motors that tilt the solar panels toward the sun. A well-designed solar PV plant might use approximately 9,000 pounds of copper per megawatt of peak capacity – a figure that does not appear to vary significantly over installations ranging from large rooftop units to multi-megawatt utility farms.