Solar power grows by 30%

Solar power capacity increased by 30% across the world last year, growing faster than installations of all traditional energy generation sources combined.

That is according to a report from SolarPower Europe, which shows that capacity grew twice as much as wind, despite the UK cutting new installations by half in 2017.

China was responsible for 53.3% of the new capacity, with the rapid growth in solar power expected to continue over the next five years and exceed the 100GW level in 2018.

SolarPower Europe CEO, James Watson, said: “Now is the time to make sure we create the right regulatory frameworks for solar and storage and remove barriers to growth.  

“The solar import tariffs we see in Europe, the US and other countries are detrimental and simply add unnecessary costs to consumers and society at large. These need to go as soon as possible.”

The report reveals that the number of countries that installed over 1GW of solar power increased from just seven in 2016 to nine last year, with this expected to rise to 14 in 2018.

Although largely driven by China, it was found that Europe contributed significantly to solar growth worldwide, installing 9.2GW in 2017, compared with 7GW the previous year.

However, this was primarily a result of Turkey’s massive growth, with installed capacity in the EU only increasing from 5.89GW to 5.91GW.

SolarPower Europe said it expected the EU to return to strong growth in the coming years, expanding by 45% in 2018 and 58% in 2019.

Globally, the organisation predicts that solar growth will continue until 2022, increasing to 102.6GW this year, despite a recent subsidy cut announced by China.

“Solar's cost-effectiveness has attracted many countries to look seriously into this unique, flexible and distributed clean power technology,” SolarEurope head of market intelligence, Michael Schmela, said.

“As more and more policy leaders and investors are beginning to understand the benefits offered by low-cost flexible and distributed clean solar, solar will undoubtedly continue to surprise us positively in the coming years."


Image credit: iStock


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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