The Solar Revolution and Supply Disruptions

Here at AllEarth Renewables, we’re tracking the current supply chain situation and planning for mid and near-term challenges as we head into 2022. While we expect the current supply shortages and rising inflation to persist, we will come out of this period an even strong and more resilient Vermont solar company.

We all remember how early in the pandemic supply chains were thrown into short-term disarray. Necessities like toilet paper and paper towels were absent from grocery store shelves as many of us flocked to stores in panic, preparing for the worst. Manufacturing was suppressed as COVID made its way through the world, and domestic lockdowns brought out economy to a grinding halt. Companies in Vermont and elsewhere were beginning the transition to remote work. The world was in shock, and we found ourselves collectively waiting for signs of a return to semi-normality. While the economic system and supply chains stayed reasonably intact, the crisis brought out the vulnerabilities in a globalized economy based on “just in time” inventory systems for ordering goods.

As a recent Washington Post article explains, the supply problems many originally viewed as transient are expected to be here to stay, at least for most of 2022. In an earlier blog post, “Solar Meets Inflation”, we described the supply crunch that’s begun to affect the solar industry in 2021. In that post, we recognized the possibility of prices of solar panels and other parts continuing to increase. That is now a stark reality. Like other solar companies large and small, AllEarth Renewables faces challenges in procuring parts for our solar trackers and ground mounted arrays at the same prices and supply as was available in prior months. Our purchasing manager hasn’t seen anything like it in all his years working with us, as ships pile up off shore from the Long Beach Port of Los Angeles, what’s been described as a “Containergeddon” by experts in the industry. We’re in a new economic environment, characterized by rising commodity prices, increased shipping costs, and labor shortages, all contributing to supply disruptions and longer than usual delivery times for a range of goods and services.

As we said above, we’re planning today to ensure the solar revolution continues strong in 2022. Thank you for being here with us in recognizing the vital importance of solar energy during these changing and challenging times.