2016 was the strongest year ever for renewable energies. The growth of the PV sector consisted of a remarkable 71 GW and exceeded that of wind energy for the first time since 2013.
Renewable energies are stronger than ever. Last year’s growth was especially remarkable, bringing the global capacity up to 2006 GW with a total of 161 GW of newly installed power sources. Out of these renewable energies, PV was most the most successful.
Remarkable PV growth
PV outshone all other renewable energy sources, with 71 new GW installed, exceeding wind energy, where only 51 GW were added. These figures are based upon a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), published earlier this year. Meanwhile, hydroelectric power stations, biogas plants and geothermal energy installations were less successful, with 30 MW, 9 GW and less than 1 GW respectively.
IRENA director-general Adnan Z. Amin commented proudly on this: “We are witnessing an energy transformation taking hold around the world, and this is reflected in another year of record-breaking additions in new renewable energy capacity.” He went further into detail, explaining that „this growth in deployment emphasizes the increasingly strong business case for renewables, which also have multiple socio-economic benefits in terms of fueling economic growth, creating jobs and improving human welfare and the environment. But accelerating this momentum will require additional investment in order to move decisively towards decarbonizing the energy sector and meet climate objectives. This new data is an encouraging sign that though there is much yet to do, we are on the right path.“
Asia’s markets growing fastest
Among all these success stories, the Asian renewable energy markets stood out. According to IRENA, 58% of the new capacities were installed in Asia alone. China contributed about half of the new PV capacities, setting up a new 34 GW. Other countries followed, such as the United States with 11 GW, Japan with 8 GW and India with 4 GW. However, the latter is considering implementing a higher tax on solar modules this summer, whch might have a negative impact on the country’s growth – we have reported on this. Meanwhile, Europe achieved an additional 5 GW as a whole, bringing its total capacities up to 104 GW.