LONDON – New photovoltaic solar energy capacity grew 50 percent in 2016 and China was responsible for almost half of its global expansion, according to the latest report on renewable energy released by the International Energy Agency on Wednesday.
The annual analysis of the renewable energy market said that PV solar energy capacity increased faster than that of any other source of power, including coal.
Renewables accounted for nearly two-thirds of the world’s net new energy capacity in 2016 with nearly 165 gigawatts produced and will continue to have a strong impact in the coming years.
Electricity generation capacity is expected to increase 43 percent before 2022.
According to IEA executive director Fatih Birol, before 2022, renewable capacity growth will be around 1,000 gigawatts, which is equivalent to around half the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to develop.
The analysis also indicates that the forecast for renewables this year is 12 percent higher than in 2016, owing mostly to upward revisions in China and India.
These two countries along with the United States will account for two-thirds of the expansion of renewables globally before 2022.
China continues to lead the global renewable capacity growth with over 360 gigawatts of online capacity or 40 percent of the global total.
India’s renewable energy capacity will more than double before 2022.
That growth is enough to surpass the expansion of renewable energy in the European Union for the first time and shows that PV solar and wind together will account for 90 percent of the growth.
Despite uncertainties in policies at the federal level, the US was still the second fastest-growing market for renewables.