With renewable electricity capacity forecast to expand by over 920 GW, the future is bright for renewables, says a new report from International Energy Agency (IEA).
Solar PV is entering a new era. For the next five years, solar PV represents the largest annual capacity additions for renewables, well above wind and hydro, the report said.
The unexpected growth of solar is driven by continuous technology cost reductions and unprecedented market dynamics in China as a consequence of policy changes.
Boosted by a strong solar PV market, renewables accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world in 2016, with almost 165 gigawatts (GW) coming online. This record growth was largely attributed to the booming solar PV deployment in China and around the world, driven by sharp cost reductions and policy support.
Last year, new solar PV capacity around the world grew by 50 percent, reaching over 74 GW, with China accounting for almost half of this expansion. For the first time, solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal.
Under an accelerated case – where government policy lifts barriers to growth – IEA analysis finds that renewable capacity growth could be boosted by another 30%, totaling an extra 1,150 GW by 2022 led by China.
Solar PV and wind capacity in China could by then reach twice the total power capacity of Japan today, the report said.