Global Market Outlook 2017-2021: Solar Boom Continues

2016 is another record solar year and demand should continue to rise through to 2021

Munich, 30 May 2017 – SolarPower Europe today launched the ‘Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2017-2021.’ The report confirms that 2016 was another record year for solar, with global annual solar additions growing by 50% with 76.6 GW installed. There is now a total worldwide solar power generation capacity of 306.5 GW.

Christian Westermeier, President of SolarPower Europe, stated: “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.”

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.”

SolarPower Europe foresees that solar will continue its growth in 2017. “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.

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