Global solar PV capacity additions are expected to reach nearly 107 GW in 2020, new IEA report says

This year, renewables will account for almost 90% of the increase in total power capacity worldwide and solar PV capacity additions are expected to reach nearly 107 GW, according to the Renewables 2020 report released this month by the International Energy Agency (IEA) providing a global outlook on renewables in the electricity heat and transport sectors for the next five years.

Driven by China and the United States, net installed renewable capacity will grow by nearly 4% globally in 2020, reaching almost 200 GW. Higher additions of wind and hydropower are taking global renewable capacity additions to a new record this year, accounting for almost 90% of the increase in total power capacity worldwide.

Solar PV growth is expected to remain stable as a faster expansion of utility-scale projects compensates for the decline in rooftop additions resulting from individuals and companies reprioritising investments. Wind and solar PV additions are set to jump by 30% in both  China and the United States as developers rush to complete projects before changes in policy take effect.

Utility-scale additions will increase nearly 3% in 2020, owing to record additions in the United States. China is expected to construct over 33% more PV capacity than in 2019, as developers rush to complete projects before the phaseout of subsidies.

Another record for global solar PV additions is anticipated for 2021, with nearly 117 GW installed, which represent a nearly 10% rise from 2020. Utility-scale project development rebounds in India and key EU markets (France and Germany) to meet auction-commissioning deadlines. In 2022, global PV additions continue to expand to almost 120 GW and could reach a record level of 150 gigawatts (GW) representing an increase of almost 40% in just three years.

Under favourable policy conditions, the report finds that global solar PV additions could reach up to almost 165 GW during 2023-25.

According to the report total wind and solar PV capacity is on course to surpass natural gas in 2023 and coal in 2024.

Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director said:

“In 2025, renewables are set to become the largest source of electricity generation worldwide, ending coal’s five decades as the top power provider. By that time, renewables are expected to supply one-third of the world’s electricity – and their total capacity will be twice the size of the entire power capacity of China today.”

Source: Press release by IEA.