New Projects, Renewables, Solar

Worldwide Solar Capacity Grew by 50 Percent in 2016

By Editors of Power Engineering

The latest report from the International Energy Acency’s renewables market indicated new solar capacity grew by 50 percent in 2016, accounting for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world.

A total of 165 GW of solar came online last year, with China accounting for nearly half of that total. The agency estimated the strong growth will continue, with renewable electrical generation growing by 43 percent through 2022.

“We see renewables growing by about 1,000 GW by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA. “What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV. We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology through 2022.”

Overall renewables are expected to grow by 12 percent more in 2017 than 2016, due largely to boosted solar capacity in China and India. Those two countries, along with the United States, should account for two-thirds of global renewable expansion by 2022.

By that year, total solar capacity will exceed the combined current total power capacities of India and Japan.

The forecast predicts renewables will account for 30 percent of power generation in 2022, up from 24 percent in 2016. Coal is expected to remain the largest source of generation.

Auction prices for solar and wind fell to three cents per kWh in some places, including India, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Chile.