New IEA report reveals solar PV capacity grew by 50% in 2016


International Energy Agency (IEA) report Renewables 2017 has found that worldwide new solar photovoltaics (PV) capacity grew by 50% last year to reach more than 74GW.

Solar PV grew faster than any other fuel last year, exceeding the net growth in coal. Around half of the global expansion was driven by China.

The report also noted that almost 165MW of renewable energy sources were commissioned, which accounted for nearly two thirds of net new power capacity worldwide. It predicts that renewables will continue to see strong growth in coming years, expected to increase by 43% by 2022.

According to Renewables 2017, the renewable sector is estimated to grow at a rate of 12% this year, which is higher than IEA’s forecast last year. The projected growth will be mostly attributed to solar PV upward revisions in China and India, however the US is also estimated to account for two-thirds of global renewable expansion by 2022.

IEA executive director Dr FatihBirol said: “We see renewables growing by about 1,000GW by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build.

"We see renewables growing by about 1,000GW by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power."

“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.”

By 2022, it is said that renewables will account for 30% of the global power generation, which is an increase from the last year’s forecast of 24%. However, coal will continue to be the largest source of electricity generation in 2022, with renewables closing the generation gap with coal by half in just five years, according to IEA.

Furthermore, China is estimated to be responsible for the largest amount of global renewable capacity expansion over the next five years with more than 360GW of capacity coming online.

The IEA report noted that India’s growth in renewable energy generation could surpass the EU's by 2022, while the US is expected to remain second largest renewables growth market, despite policy uncertainty.