Solar PV grew faster than any other fuel in 2016: IEA

IEA 2Electricity capacity addition by fuel, 2016. (Image source: IEA)New solar PV capacity grew by 50 per cent in 2016, with China accounting for almost half of the global expansion, according to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) latest renewable market analysis and forecast Renewables 2017

For the first time, solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal, said the report.

Boosted by a strong solar PV market, renewable accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world in 2016, with almost 165 GW coming online, according to the new report.

The report further stated that the renewable will continue to have a strong growth in coming years. By 2022, renewable electricity capacity is expected to increase by 43 per cent.

“We see renewable 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.

“We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology through 2022,” he added.

China, India and the US are expected to account for two-thirds of global renewable expansion by 2022. Total solar PV capacity by then would exceed the combined total power capacities of India and Japan today.

In power generation, renewable electricity is expected to grow by more than a third by 2022 to over 8,000 terawatt hours, which is equivalent to the total power consumption of China, India and Germany combined, according to the report.

China remains the undisputed leader of renewable electricity capacity expansion during the forecast period with more than 360 GW of capacity coming online, or 40 per cent of the global total.

By 2022, India renewable capacity is expected to reach more than double. Solar PV and wind together represent 90 per cent of India's capacity growth as auctions yielded some of the world's lowest prices for both technologies.

Despite policy uncertainties at the federal level, the US remains the second-largest growth market for renewable. Still, the current uncertainty over proposed federal tax reforms, international trade and energy policies could alter the economic attractiveness of renewable and hamper their growth during forecast period, said the report.

The report also provides detailed analysis on the renewable consumption of electric cars and off-grid solar deployment in Africa and developing Asia. Off-grid capacity in these regions is expected to reach more than 3,000MW in 2022 from industrial applications, solar home systems (SHSs) and mini-grids driven by government electrification programmes and private sector initiatives.

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