A total of 229 GW of solar power was installed in the world at the end of 2015, which is an over 45-fold market increase in only 10 years, according to a new report from SolarPower Europe.
The report says that after the 50 GW annual level of newly added solar power capacity was reached in 2015, the global solar market is well on its way to crack the 60 GW mark in 2016 – the most likely scenario forecasts around 62 GW of newly commissioned solar power this year.
In the first quarter of 2016, China alone installed over 7 GW of solar power, and Europe became the first region in the world to pass the 100 GW mark of installed PV capacity.
“Solar is booming and continues to break records in many parts of the world, which gives us reasons to believe 700 GW globally installed solar power is possible by 2020,” says Oliver Schafer, president of SolarPower Europe.
Michael Schmela, executive advisor of SolarPower Europe and lead author of the report, states, “Solar power is increasingly cost-competitive with fossil fuels, and distributed solar is cheaper than retail electricity in many countries. In 2016, solar also became cheaper than onshore wind power in parts of the globe.”
According to the report, China, Japan and the U.S. again led the world’s solar market in 2015, with China and Japan alone responsible for 50% of newly installed capacity. 2015 also marked a growth year for the European solar market; with 8.2 GW of grid-connected solar power, the market grew by 15% year-on-year.
James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, comments, “While this is the first upward trend since 2011, it is likely that demand on the European continent will slow down, primarily due to the termination of support for utility-scale solar in the U.K. What European solar needs now is the right electricity market design.”
The report, titled “Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2016-2020,” is available here.