New additions to global solar PV generating capacity grew by 50% last year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) – a growth rate higher than for any other energy source in 2016.

According to the organisations Renewables 2017 report, China accounted for almost half of the 74 GW of global solar PV capacity additions in 2016, followed by India and the US. Total renewables accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity globally and renewable capacity is likely to increase by as much as 43% by 2022.

In power generation, renewable electricity is expected to grow by more than a third by 2022 to reach over 8,000 TWh, with China remaining the ‘undisputed leader’ of renewable electricity expansion over the forecast period, with 40% of the global total coming online. Chinas renewables growth is largely driven by concerns about air pollution and capacity targets that were outlined in the country’s 13th five-year plan to 2020.

‘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, 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’.

Article adapted from Energy World November 2017 – Magazine of the Energy Institute London