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New Energy

Solar Panels Piling Up in Warehouses in Energy-Starved Europe

  • Installations are being stymied by acute labor shortages
  • EU’s forced labor ban poses potential threat to solar growth
Solar panels in a pvXchange warehouse in Mömbris, Germany.
Solar panels in a pvXchange warehouse in Mömbris, Germany.Photographer: Martin Schachinger, pvXchange Trading GmbH

Tens of thousands of solar panels are sitting unused in warehouses across Europe just as the continent struggles with an unprecedented energy crisis. 

The spike in electricity prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is making the case for a speedier transition to renewable power. Demand for solar from households and businesses is soaring and the supply of panels is rising to meet it. But a key piece of the puzzle is missing: there aren’t enough engineers to install the rooftop modules fast enough to keep up with orders.