2016 is another record solar year and demand should continue to rise through to 2021
Munich, 30 May 2017 – SolarPower Europe today launched the ‘Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2017-2021.’ The report confirms that 2016 was another record year for solar, with global annual solar additions growing by 50% with 76.6 GW installed. There is now a total worldwide solar power generation capacity of 306.5 GW.
Christian Westermeier, President of SolarPower Europe, stated: «Never before have we seen more solar power being installed in a single year than in 2016. For the first time, solar left behind its renewable energy peer, wind, in terms of annual installations. This proves the versatility and increasing cost-effectiveness of solar power.»
James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe commented: «When looking at solar, the cost reductions experienced and predicted outstrip all other power generation technologies. Today, utility-scale solar is already cheaper than new gas, coal and nuclear power plants.»
SolarPower Europe foresees that solar will continue its growth in 2017. «Despite the gigantic leap that resulted in the more than 50% growth year on year of annual solar installations in 2016, there is a good chance that the market could even pass the 80 GW mark in 2017,» said Watson.
The quickly decreasing cost of solar continues to improve its competitiveness and is a major driver for solar’s global success story. All solar tenders awarded since 2016 are lower than the price guarantee the UK government signed for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant last year. A new world-record low 25-year solar power supply contract was awarded in Abu Dhabi in 2016 for 24.4 USD/MWh (2.4 US cents/kWh). This is reflected in this year’s report being more optimistic on solar growth than previous editions.
«If policy makers get things right by addressing the needs for a smooth energy transition, such as through establishing the right trade policy, electricity market design and renewable energy frameworks, solar demand could increase much faster, and touch nearly 1 TW of total generation capacity in 2021,» said Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor at SolarPower Europe and lead author of the Global Market Outlook.