Solar power has boomed over the past decade from relatively nothing in worldwide to reach potentially more than 81 gigawatts (GWs) of new solar electric generation installed worldwide by the end of 2017, according to GreenTech Media. Solar could reach 390 GWs of installed electric generating capacity across the world by the end 2017—rivaling the 391.5 GWs of installed nuclear capacity.
In the latest Global Solar Demand Monitor: Q2 2017 by GreenTech Media researchers Benjamin Attia, Manan Parikh, Tom Heggarty, said they expect global solar installations will exceed 80 GWs for the first time in 2017. The researchers said the market is expected to grow between 6 percent and 8 percent annually through 2019.
They also said demand growth will be led by China. “We retain our Q1 2017 assumption that Chinese demand in 2017 will account for 39 percent of the global market,” they wrote.
Looking at those numbers GreenTech Media Editor-in-Chief Stephen Lacey noted that “In the last three years, growth rates and cost reductions for solar have far exceeded projections. Meanwhile, high costs, slow construction and competitive renewable alternatives are causing the global nuclear industry to falter.” That’s led to a slowdown of 4 percent of expected growth in 2017, he said.
Still, Lacey said that solar is about to eclipse the entire supply of nuclear power, in terms of raw capacity, across the world by the end of the year or early next year. “By 2022, global capacity will likely reach 871 gigawatts. That's about 43 gigawatts more than expected cumulative wind installs by that date. And it's more than double today's nuclear capacity,” he wrote in a post.
Still, Lacey observed that nuclear will continue to provide more of the world’s energy—at least for now. “Nuclear generates 2,476,671 gigawatt-hours of electricity every year, accounting for roughly 11 percent of global generation,” he wrote. “Solar, on the other hand, only accounts for 375,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity yearly, or about 1.8 percent of global generation. The generation gap is significant. But a crossover is approaching.”
The International Energy Agency (IEA), Lacey said, anticipated that under its high-growth scenario solar power could make up 16 percent of the world’s electric source by 2050—surpassing nuclear generation. The IEA also anticipated that another 11 percent could come from concentrating solar power, together making solar the most dominant form of electric generation in the world.Tweet