Global Renewable Energy Capacity Surges by 50%, Solar PV Takes the Lead: IEA Report

By Editor


The global addition of renewable energy capacity experienced 50 percent growth in 2023, soaring to 510 gigawatts (GW), the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its report.

solar photovoltaic (PV) technology emerged as the frontrunner, constituting three-quarters of the worldwide additions, according to the IEA’s annual market report, “Renewables 2023.”

China, a key player in this surge, achieved unprecedented growth by commissioning as much solar PV in 2023 as the entire world did in 2022. Moreover, China’s wind power additions witnessed a staggering 66 percent year-on-year increase. Notably, Europe, the United States, and Brazil also marked historic highs in their renewable energy capacity additions.

The report, the first comprehensive assessment post-COP28 conference in Dubai in December, indicates that, under current policies and market conditions, global renewable power capacity is projected to reach 7,300 GW from 2023 to 2028. Solar PV and wind are anticipated to spearhead 95 percent of this expansion, eventually surpassing coal as the primary source of global electricity generation by early 2025.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol commented, “The new IEA report shows that under current policies and market conditions, global renewable capacity is already on course to increase by two-and-a-half times by 2030.” However, he emphasized the need for further progress to meet the COP28 goal of tripling renewables by 2030.

The report underscores that the international community faces challenges such as scaling up financing and deployment of renewables, especially in emerging and developing economies. Dr. Birol stressed the importance of rapidly addressing these challenges to achieve the ambitious tripling goal.

The IEA report outlines an accelerated case, projecting a 21 percent higher growth in renewable power capacity through more rapid policy implementation. While advanced economies must overcome challenges like policy uncertainty and insufficient grid infrastructure, emerging economies require improved access to finance, governance, and regulatory frameworks.

Solar PV and onshore wind deployment are expected to more than double in the United States, the European Union, India, and Brazil by 2028. Despite a decline of nearly 50 percent in solar PV module prices in 2023, the wind industry outside China faces challenges, including supply chain disruption and permitting delays.

The report also provides a reality check on renewable-based hydrogen projects, revealing that only 7 percent of the proposed capacity is expected to be operational by 2030. Biofuels, particularly in emerging economies like Brazil and India, are anticipated to drive 70 percent of global demand in the next five years, especially in challenging sectors such as air travel. However, the report highlights the need for accelerated biofuels deployment to align with a net-zero pathway by 2030.

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