Cheap solar energy the fastest growing new power source

05 October, 2017, 00:33 | Author: Darrell Lopez
  • Image Shutterstock

Nearly 165GW of new renewable power was installed in 2016, driven by 74GW of solar photovoltaic capacity coming online, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

"China's 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", the agency said in the report.

In 2016, net additions to renewable energy capacity - including hydropower, solar, wind, bioenergy, wave and tidal - set another world record, growing by 165 gigawatts (GW), 6 per cent more than in 2015, the report said.

For the first time ever, there were more grid additions from solar power than another other type of fuel, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday. That production will be equal to about half the globe's coal power capacity, in a fraction of the time it took to build all that coal power.

The recognition in China dominating PV installations, which accounted for around 50% of total in 2016 was another positive but the IEA claimed that the "growing cost of renewable subsidies and grid integration issues remain two important challenges to further expansion". "This marks a turning point and underpins our more optimistic solar PV forecast".

"What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV (photovoltaic)", IEA executive director, Fatih Birol, said in a new report.




Globally, China and India lead renewable capacity growth projections.

The US and India are also expected to drive renewables growth. As Dr. Paolo Frankl, one of the lead authors on the report, said on a call to reporters, "In one year, China will install the equivalent of the total history of solar development in Germany".

The IEA added that Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) and wind together represent 90 per cent of India's capacity growth as auctions yielded some of the world's lowest prices for both technologies.

The US is the second largest market for renewables, but there is uncertainty in the future over federal tax reforms, worldwide trade and energy policy, the report said.

The share of renewables in power generation will reach 30 per cent in 2022, up from 24 per cent in 2016. By 2022, clean energy will produce much more electricity than gas and inch even closer to closing the gap with coal. As a whole, renewables represented almost two-thirds of new electricity capacity additions previous year, far outshining coal and natural gas growth.

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