Market Analysis

Market Analysis July 2021 - Sky's the limit

The sky is the limit. Fortunately, this expression does not apply to the current prices for PV panels, which have recently slackened a bit after a continuous rise since the beginning of the year. Whether this situation will hold steady, or whether prices will drop further in the coming months is hard to say at the moment. Polysilicon prices at least, and thus wafer and cell prices, could be in for a slight decline. However, a decisive movement in module prices in general is unlikely before the fourth quarter. Whether module prices move up or down this year essentially depends on the development of the international market. If a fourth wave of the coronavirus can be stopped or slowed in time, then the market should be in quite good shape on both the supply and demand sides. If the delta variant of the virus is not contained, however, there will be further bottlenecks in Asian production facilities and in the rest of the supply chain, which make the development of the market difficult to predict.

The above-mentioned saying should certainly apply to tourist air travel, however, even if not in the way Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk would like us to understand it. The three billionaires, among whom a civil space race seems to have broken out, apparently no longer have any limits. On the heels of Virgin Galactic founder Branson, Amazon CEO Bezos has also had himself launched into orbit, just to show that he can do it too. Only time will tell how the ambitions of Tesla and Space-X CEO Musk, the third in the group, will shape up in this regard. Apparently, a mission for a circumnavigation of the Earth with four space tourists is already planned for September, but without Musk himself being on the passenger list. His actual vision goes well beyond the megalomania of his competitors by a long shot anyway - he wants to colonize Mars.

This, of course, immediately raises the question: What is the point? Do we not have much bigger problems at the moment than which super-rich person will be the first in space, or who will be the youngest or oldest space tourist?

After the first year of the pandemic in 2020, the natural world had just begun to recover a bit from the overflowing air traffic caused by growing, far too cheap international tourism and business-related short air hops. But here too, a race within the airline industry has begun to catch up with former flight volumes and frequency. Ryanair is in the process of ordering 100 or more large aircraft from Boeing. Apparently, the low-cost airline wants to fill the gaps in the industry left by the insolvencies and consolidation of other airlines as quickly as possible by expanding its own operations. In sum, of course, this development is even more alarming than all the space flight plans of the three billionaires - for the time being, at least. Nevertheless, the idea to bring well-paying private individuals into space by using huge amounts of fuel and accepting the emission of tons of CO2 lacks any rational basis. "Astrotourism" in its current form is simply ruthlessly destructive of resources, and the gain in knowledge for more important missions is minimal.

The images of the expensive space hoppers shown on TV – that is all they are at the moment – are particularly hard to stomach in light of the climate-change-related environmental catastrophes of the recent past with the immeasurable damage and costs incurred by comparatively local events. While U.S. billionaires congratulate or mock each other for their supposed successes, depending on how you look at it, less well-off people in many parts of the world are struggling to survive, losing all their belongings in devastating fires or century-long floods. The flood victims in Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany likely wish that such vast sums of money, presumably untaxed, would not be squandered on fulfilling the adolescent dreams of the super-rich, but instead be used to help them get back on their feet. At the very least, however, these vast sums could be invested in climate impact mitigation and climate protection instead of climate destruction.

Elon Musk's goal of colonizing Mars seems particularly cynical to me. What is the attraction of banishing people irretrievably to a highly hostile environment in which survival is possible only with extreme hardship and the constant threat of death? The way to this goal also leads along a road of particularly resource-devouring tests with certainly thousands of setbacks. Every rocket launch puts a huge burden on the earth's environment. This is a great way to accelerate precisely that from which these people are presumably trying to save the human race on Mars or some other extraterrestrial planet: an earth that has become uninhabitable. But human life is tailored precisely to today's environmental conditions through thousands of years of evolution, so why exchange optimal living conditions for completely different ones to which the human organism must first adapt again for centuries? With this in mind: the sky is the limit, period!

Overview of the price points by technology in July 2021 including the changes over the previous month (as of July 22, 2021):

pvXchange Solar Price Index July 2021