The REN21 Renewables 2016 report out June 1 found that by the end of 2015 the world had installed a total of 227 gigawatts of solar power and 50 gigawatts (28 percent) of that came online in 2015 alone! Given that and other recent trends the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis (IEEFA) anticipates that solar will continue to see record growth as its cost comes down by double digits—again.
“Globally, the cost of solar electricity continues to decline at a double digit annual rate, and IEEFA sees this trend continuing through the end of this decade,” wrote IEEFA’s Tim Buckley.
He pointed out the recent record-breaking low price for a solar project in Dubai, which came in at $30 per megawatt hour—about 50 percent lower than the previously lowest-cost solar project. “It puts solar in Dubai below the cost of any alternative source of electricity and will underpin plans for a rapid deployment across the Middle East,” he said. Indeed, the project costs less than it would cost for a coal-fired power plant.
“Recent improvements in economies of scale, solar-technology breakthroughs and rapid cost deflation all augur for yet another record year in 2016,” Buckley explained. “Together, solar, wind and hydro are accelerating in particular the substitution of thermal power generation by renewable energy alternatives.”
Among other facts, the institute found that China installed 15.2 gigawatts and Japan added 11 gigawatts in 2015. “IEEFA sees China easily exceeding its 2015 record with a target of 20 gigawatts of new solar in 2016,” Buckley wrote. “UBS currently has China installing more than 13 gigawatts of solar in the first six months of 2016, ahead of a solar tariff cut effective July 1. The U.S. is seen doubling annual solar installations in 2016 (GTM forecasts to as much as 16 gigwatts), which would put it in second place globally,” he added.
“Solar electricity generation, to sum up, is set to transform global electricity markets over the next decade,” Buckley reiterated. “Deployment rates continue to grow at 10-20 percent annually around the world, and the cost of solar electricity continues to decline at double-digit rates every year.” He added that the commercialization of energy storage, which is starting now, will only further accelerate the growth of the solar industry.Tweet