Renewable electricity market has witnessed an unprecedented acceleration in recent years, and it broke another annual deployment record in 2016. The market’s main driver last year was solar photovoltaics, which is boosting the growth of renewables in power capacity around the world.
New solar PV capacity grew by 50% last year, with China accounting for almost half of the global expansion, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest renewables market analysis and forecast. For the first time, solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal.
Boosted by a strong solar PV market, renewables accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world last year, with almost 165 gigawatts (GW) coming online, according to the new IEA report, Renewables 2017. Renewables will continue to have a strong growth in coming years. By 2022, renewable electricity capacity should increase by 43%.
“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.”
This year’s renewable forecast is 12% higher than last year, thanks mostly to solar PV upward revisions in China and India. Three countries – China, India and the United States – will 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.
Furthermore, the building sector is expected to lead the growth in renewable heat consumption, with the fastest growth in this sector seen in China, the European Union and North America.
The European Union
In the European Union, renewable growth over the forecast period is 40% lower compared with the previous five-year period. Overall, weaker electricity demand, overcapacity, and limited visibility on forthcoming auction capacity volumes in some markets remain challenges to renewable growth. Policy uncertainty beyond 2020 remains high.
If adopted, the new EU Renewable Energy Directive covering the post-2020 period would address this challenge by requiring a three-year visibility over support policies, thereby improving the market’s predictability.
For further information, please visit the relevant IEA webpages at the links below.