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Global solar power to add 80 GW capacity in 2017, SolarPower Europe says

JAKARTA ( – SolarPower Europe projects the global solar power  to add 80 GW capacity this year to 386.5 GW. The rise carries on sharp growth of solar power capacity in the last few years.

Last year alone, the global annual solar additions grew by 50% with 76.5 GW installed, boosting global solar installed capacity to 306.5 GW at end of 2016. That’s a 50% year-on-year growth over the 51.2 GW installed in 2015 and the third highest rate recorded since 2010, though at much higher absolute levels.

SolarPower Europe said in its latest report, entitled ‘Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2017-2021’, that the solar power will continue its booming growth in the coming years.

The global solar market in 2016 was even more dominated by one country than it was the year before – China, which connected 34.5 GW to the grid, a 128% increase over the 15.1 GW it added the year before. The 2016 PV installations were equal to a global market share of 45%.

At the end of 2016, China had a total of 77.9 GW installed PV, owning one quarter of all global solar power generation capacity.

2016 was a disappointing year for solar in Europe. With only 6.7 GW of newly installed PV capacity, the European solar power market shrank by 22% year-on-year.

In 2016, Asia-Pacific has become the largest solar-powered region in the world – with 147.2 GW of total installed capacity, equal to a 48% global market share. The European solar pioneers, which still owned the major global portion in 2015, are now ranked second – with a cumulative PV capacity of 104.3 GW and a 34% share.

“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,” Christian Westermeier, President of Solar Power Europe, stated.

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.”

“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. (*)

Edited by Roffie Kurniawan (

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