Global Solar Power Demand Grows By Around 50% in 2016, Europe Drops By Over 20%
By Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor & Head of Market Intelligence
While Asia and America are quickly embracing low-cost and clean solar power, the European Union and its member countries need to adapt their policy frameworks to get ready for the next solar growth wave - that's the key take away from our first analysis on newly installed global PV power in 2016.
European countries installed around 6.7 GW of solar power systems in 2016 - a 21% decrease compared to the 8.6 GW that was installed in 2015, according to SolarPower Europe, the association of the solar power sector in Europe. In the same period, annual global solar installations grew by around 50% to an all-time record number of 76.2 GW in 2016.
The world's largest solar market in 2016 was China, which officially added 34.2 GW, over 125% more than in 2015. It was followed by the US with estimated solar power additions of 14.6 GW, up from 7.3 GW the year before. Japan was ranked third, reaching around 8.6 GW, ahead of India with about 4.5 GW.
Once a solar leader, the European Union is in danger of being eclipsed by Asian powerhouses, such as China, in both solar power production and installations. Led by China, Asia's PV market share was over 66% in 2016. Even the US, with a much smaller population than the EU's 28 member countries combined, added about twice as much solar power capacities in 2016.