Solar energy is fastest growing source of power


Renewable power capacity grew a record amount globally past year with China continuing to be the main driver of growth, the IEA's renewables market analysis and forecast said on Wednesday. For the first time, solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. Coal in particular had continued to grow in recent years despite global targets to reduce carbon emissions.

"Solar PV is entering a new era", said an ebullient IEA in its report.

For road transport, IEA projects that renewable-powered vehicles will increase marginally in the next five years to make up 5 percent of transport from the current 4 percent.

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".

The growth of solar energy continues to outpace forecasts and this growth, according to a report published Wednesday by the International Energy Agency, (IEA) "is a China story".

The IEA put much of the solar surge down to a large reduction in the cost of deployment and increased support from governments.

By then, renewables will account for 30 per cent of power generation, up from 24 per cent in 2016. "We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology through 2022", Birol added. The IEA said the main drivers remain strong for new onshore wind and solar capacities, such as federal tax incentives combined with renewable portfolio standards as well as state-level policies for distributed solar PV.

In line with its recent determination to end up a victor in the renewable energy market, China led the way on building solar capacity. With this, India will match the USA, becoming the joint second-largest growth market after China. "But I have to say, we should not forget the biofuels, which at the end of 2016 represented 96 percent of total renewable transport".

Although coal will still be the largest source of electricity generation in 2022, renewables is on track to close the generation gap with coal by half in just five years. The world is collectively expected to grow renewable electricity capacity by 43 per cent between 2017 and 2022. By the end of 2016, China had increased its solar PV capacity by almost 800 times, with more than 77 gigawatts now installed.