The world has installed 300 gigawatts of solar power, according to the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar). The solar advocacy organization said its research found that roughly 70 gigawatts of solar power were installed globally in 2016 alone—30 percent more than in the previous year.
"The utilization of solar power has really picked up momentum in many countries around the world,” said explains Carsten Körnig, CEO of BSW. “As the global thirst for energy increases, more and more governments and investors are committing to clean forms of energy.”
The organization attributed the growth to record low prices for solar panels, observing that in at more than 30 countries solar power is now a profitable investment strategy even without incentives. It referred to a World Economic Forum (WEF) report that showed in an increasing number of countries investing PV and wind power makes more economic sense than investing in coal-fired power plants.
"The decision for solar power has long been based on more than environmental concerns alone. Economic considerations are increasingly the primary motivation for making the decision to invest in PV," Körnig asserted. "The risk of stranded investments in unprofitable coal-fired power plants is increasing, because in the future their enormous climate impact costs will inevitably be priced into the overall economic equation. Meanwhile, solar power already provides an extremely low-cost alternative."
The organization said that China installed roughly 34 gigawatts of photovoltaics in 2016. At the same time, it stopped the construction of around 100 coal-fired power plants that could produce more than 100 gigawatts of electricity. The US was second with around 13 gigawatts of PV installed last year and Japan third, with around 9 gigawatts installed last year.
The association anticipated that the trend will continue. It referred to a 2015 study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, conducted for Agora Energiewende, which found that solar power will soon be the cheapest form of electricity in many parts of the world.Tweet