New era in solar energy fuelling growth in renewables: IEA

New era in solar energy fuelling growth in renewables: IEA”

The IEA has raised its forecast for renewables compared with a year ago, largely as a result of more solar in China and India, with China already exceeding its 2020 target for new solar power. The forecast is 12% higher than a year ago, mainly as a result of upward revisions for solar additions in China and India.

The IEA expects continued growth in renewables through 2022, with an increase of 43 percent forecast.

"China's renewables growth is largely driven by concerns about air pollution", the IEA said.

The analysis noted that China remains the undisputed leader of renewable electricity capacity expansion over the forecast period with over 360 GW of capacity coming online, or 40 per cent of the global total. Still, the growing cost of renewable subsidies and grid integration issues remain two important challenges to further expansion, it added.

The International Energy Agency has highlighted the claimed 50% growth in solar PV installations in 2016, which reached over 74GW, is part of a new trend that showed renewable energy sources with nearly two-thirds of net new power capacity that approached 165GW coming online. The main drivers remain strong for new onshore wind and solar capacities, supported for federal tax incentives, renewable portfolio standards and state-level policies for distributed solar power.

Solar PV capacity grew by 50 percent to reach more than 74 GW previous year and it was the first time solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal.

New era in solar energy fuelling growth in renewables: IEA

"What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV".

"We see renewables growing by about 1,000 GW (gigawatts) by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build", Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director, said in a statement within the report. That's more than the electricity consumed now in China, India and Germany.

China already surpassed its 2020 solar PV target, and the IEA expects it to exceed its wind target in 2019.

Renewables will account for 29 percent of the global energy mix in five years' time, compared to the 24 percent forecast last year.

The report said the next chapter in the rise of renewables required more work to integrate new technologies into energy systems and increase their application in buildings, industry and transport. Biofuels will still account for over 90% of renewable energy in road transport by 2022.

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