Visualized: How Much Metal is Used in Clean Energy Technology?

This post is by Tessa Di Grandi from Visual Capitalist



The following content is sponsored by Teck

How Much Metal is Used in Clean Energy?

In 2022, a record 12% of all global power was harnessed from solar and wind, up from 10% in 2021, underscoring the growth of clean energy sources.

Essential minerals that form the foundation of clean energy technologies are at the heart of this transition. But what makes these minerals so indispensable?

This infographic, sponsored by Teck, looks at how much, and what types of metals are used in clean energy.

Clean Energy Uses More Metal

Clean energy systems, on average, require more minerals to build. Let’s take a look at the amount needed for wind and solar applications.

Offshore windOnshore windSolar PV
Copper8,000 kg/MW2,900 kg/MW2,822 kg/MW
Zinc5,500 kg/MW5,500 kg/MW30 kg/MW
Manganese790 kg/MW780 kg/MW
Chromium525 kg/MW470 kg/MW
Nickel240 kg/MW404 kg/MW1 kg/MW
Rare Earths239 kg/MW14 kg/MW
Molybdenum109 kg/MW99 kg/MW
Silicon3,948 kg/MW
Others6 kg/MW32 kg/MW

Offshore wind uses the largest amount of metals here, with its copper demand alone reaching around 8,000 kilograms per megawatt of energy.

A Closer Look at Copper

Copper is the world’s third most used industrial metal and is essential for clean energy technologies due to its (Read more…)