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New Era for Solar Power

Audio, Economy

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has significantly upped their global installation predictions of new solar power and other renewable energy technology through 2022. This updated growth prediction is greatly based upon the significant acceleration of solar power being installed in China and the abruptly falling prices of large installations, as per the news records.

The IEA raised predictions of renewable energy being deployed in the next five years by greater than 33%. The generally conservative group even left open that there could be still more growth, 30% above what’s already projected in a situation “where government policy lifts barriers to growth.”

The biggest driver of the changes in this report are that solar power, in particular, had a huge growth year in 2016. Expanding from 50GW installed in 2015 to around 74GW installed in 2016. China led all countries by installing 46% of the global solar volume – 34GW – this caught many by surprise. The United States grew its solar power installation volume by over 100% from 7GW in 2015 to 14.6GW in 2016, and when combined with China’s volume represented 66% of global installations.

Future renewable energy deployments during the years 2017-2022 are expected to be 920GW. Solar power is expected to grow by 438GW, from a current global volume of about 320GW – which would represent 136% more solar over the five year period. Wind power would be the second largest contributor at 321GW, with hydropower adding another 119GW.

The biggest part of the story is China’s future growth. Of the 920GW of renewable energy coming, China is expected to build 318GW of that volume. That amount is about equal to 324GW from the next four largest groups – the US, India, Japan and the EU – combined.

Off grid solar growth is now large enough that the IEA has decided to track it. 2019 is expected to be the first time 1GW of off grid solar is installed in a single year. By the end of 2022 – it’s expected that there will be 3GW total off grid.

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