Silver supporting a sustainable future

  • Silver is a core component of solar (PV) panels that harnesses renewable solar energy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Current silver use in solar energy is forecast to consume up to 98% of global supply by 2050 with current technology. New technology is emerging – including double-sided solar panels, which will require 25%- 50% more silver per panel and will exponentially increase efficiency and electricity generation.
  • Moving away from fossil fuels will mean further reliance on electric vehicles – which will drive demand for silver as depending on the model, a single EV can contain between 25 and 50 grams of silver, and hybrid cars use 18 to 34 grams of silver. Electric vehicles are becoming more efficient and adoption is scaling rapidly – with global sales of electric cars almost doubling between 2021 and 2022 increasing from 3.75 million to 6.75 million on the roads. 
  • The green infrastructure that will be required to store and harness the electricity generated from solar PV to use in applications including EVs will drive reliance on large-scale batteries – another technology with high reliance on silver. On top of the already heavy consumption of silver for the batteries used for current consumer technologies, other consumer gas and petrol-powered devices such as lawnmowers and power-washers will also likely move to battery power, increasing the need for silver to increase battery manufacture.
  • Silver’s exceptional electrical conductivity enhances the efficiency of electronic devices from electronic circuits to smartphones, switches and TV screens.

Silver through the ages

  • Maintaining its value over centuries: silver was first mined in 3000BC and a silver coin was the first ever form of currency in 700BC.
  • Valued for its rarity and beauty, silver has long been sought-after for personal use – as jewellery or tableware.
  • The properties of silver have cemented silver as a critical component in industrial and technology manufacturing, increasing global demand.
  • Silver is most often found in combination with other metals including gold, copper and lead. There are currently few new silver-producing mines and silver production has been flatlining over recent years despite a growth in the recycling of silver components. 
  • The gold: silver price ratio (the number of ounces of silver it takes to buy a single ounce of gold) was set by the Roman Empire at 12:1. In the Coinage Act of 1792, the US Government fixed the ratio of 15:1. In 1991, at silver’s low, the ratio was 100:1. In October 2023, the ratio is about 85:1 leading many analysts to predict a silver bull run as silver demand grows. 

Silver promoting health and innovation

  • Silver has powerful antimicrobial properties which are being employed to purify water, ensuring safe consumption in countries where access to safe drinking water has long been a major barrier to health outcomes. Silver can be dispersed in water in its monoatomic ionic state (Ag+), and used to filter and purify water. 
  • Silver not only kills bacteria in water but compounds including silver nitrate and silver sulfadiazine can be used to treat wounds directly, with silver both killing bacteria and eliminating the ability of the bacteria to replicate. This use of silver may provide essential tools in the fight against antibiotic resistance. 
  • Silver’s anti-bacterial properties are also harnessed in next-gen medical devices: bone prostheses, reconstructive orthopaedic surgery, cardiac devices, catheters and surgical appliances, as well as being used to reduce cross-contamination in medical settings. 
  • The flexibility, durability and excellent optical conduction properties of silver are behind the increase in the use of silver nano-wires in medical imaging technologies such as X-rays, MRIs, and endoscopic and tactile imaging.

Silver supply and demand

Supply is flat:

  • There are only two methods to supply the demand for silver in the market: mining and recycling.
  • Global mining supply fell slightly in 2022; recycling increased slightly.
  • Silver supply has been flat over the last two years – with a total supply in 2022 of 1,004.7 million ounces (Moz).

Demand, on the other hand, is booming, with silver demand in 2022 rising to 1242.2Moz.

The three biggest sectors that demand silver are:

  • 44%: Industry – including the manufacture of electronics, including solar PV cells, and electric and hybrid cars – up by 5% in 2022.
  • 24%: Jewelry and silverware for personal use – up 38% in 2022.
  • 26%: Physical investment – up 20% in 2022.

Impact of new industries:

  • The University of New South Wales recently published a study showing that at the rate that the solar industry is growing, solar manufacturers will require over 20% of the world’s annual silver supply by 2027, and approximately 85-98% by the year 2050.
  • Silver is an essential component in semiconductors, with no viable alternative  – and the world has been facing a semiconductor shortage since 2020.
  • According to the Silver Institute, demand for silver in 5G technology like IoT and semiconductors will increase by 200% in a decade, reaching 23 million ounces by 2030.
  • The market for electric vehicles (EV) is forecast to grow by 16% by 2035 with the Silver Institute forecasting that the silver required for this growth would represent over 15% of total silver demand by 2030.

I’ve been waiting for Rush to launch silver – and I was one of the first to get access. Works perfectly, as I would expect from Rush. Great way to diversify!

I am so glad Rush has finally launched silver. Now I will be managing all my precious metals investments in one app! And they’ve managed to add silver without completely changing the app – love it!”

Rush out and buy silver!! I love the new app layout and love that I can see the silver and gold pricing at the flick of a button. Great move, Rush!

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