The surging price of silver threatens to boost costs for solar-panel producers, which account for about 10 per cent of global demand for the metal.

Silver prices have surged to an eight-year high since Wednesday, driven by some of the same retail investors that last week propelled shares of GameStop Corp. to stratospheric heights.

That’s going to add to costs for solar manufacturers, which use a silver paste for electrical contacts on photovoltaic panels. At current prices, the metal accounts for about 4.7 per cent of the cost of a panel, according to Jenny Chase, solar analyst for BloombergNEF. It doesn’t help that Chinese manufacturers are trying to boost inventory now ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday that starts next week.

“If you’re looking to buy solar panels, it might be wise to wait until the second quarter,” Chase said in an interview Monday.