IEA forecasts renewable electricity growth of 43% globally by 2022
There’s a quiet revolution going in the renewable energy space as can be deduced from the International Energy Agency (IEA) Renewables 2017 report which predicts that the world’s renewable electricity capacity is set to rise over 43% in the next five years, largely due to increasing expansion of solar energy in China and India.
The Paris-based energy think tank best known for energy efficiency, said that a strong solar PV market is boosting renewables making them account for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world in 2016, with almost 165 gigawatts (GW) coming online. A further 920GW of renewable capacity will be installed by 2022.
Tracking off-grid solar PV applications is difficult in developing nations because – well they are developing – but the IEA for the first time, tracked off-grid solar PV applications in Asia and sub Saharan Africa and forecasted growth.
“Over the forecast period, off-grid capacity in these regions will almost triple – reaching over 3 000 MW in 2022 – from industrial applications, solar home systems (SHSs), and mini-grids driven by government electrification programmes, and private sector investments,” said the IEA.
Solar leads the pack
According to the IEA, last year, new solar PV capacity around the world grew by 50%, reaching over 74 GW, with China accounting for almost half of this expansion. For the first time, solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal.
The sector has also seen record-low auction prices of $30 megawatts per hour (MWh), the IEA notes. Solar will represent the highest yearly capacity additions for renewables – well above wind and hydro.
The IEA says global solar PV capacity will hit a total of 740GW by 2022, more than the combined total power capacities of India and Japan today, driven by continuous technology cost reductions and unprecedented market dynamics in China due to policy changes.
Chinese companies now account for 60% of the world’s solar cell manufacturing capacity indicating that market and policy developments in China will have global implications on the deployment and prices of solar around the world. China has already surpassed its 2020 solar PV target. The IEA expects it to exceed its wind target in 2019.
China, the United States (despite Trump) and India will account for two thirds of all global renewable energy expansion said the IEA.
“Despite policy uncertainty, the United States remains the second-largest growth market for renewables. The main drivers remain strong for new onshore wind and solar capacities, such as multi-year federal tax incentives combined with renewable portfolio standards as well as state-level policies for distributed solar PV,” said the EIA.
Big Read |