Solar - September 1, 2020
Solar breaks record for new capacity in 2019
Solar power was overwhelmingly the most installed power-generating technology in 2019, with a record 118 GW of capacity constructed that year, a new report found.
BloombergNEF found that one-third of all countries made solar their top choice last year, with 45% of all new capacity coming from photovoltaic installations. Eighty-one countries built at least 1 MW of solar in 2019.
The report also found that wind and solar together accounted for over two-thirds of the new capacity installed worldwide in 2019. When including hydropower, renewables made up three-fourths of all commissioned capacity in 2019.
There was a total of 651 GW of solar capacity worldwide at the end of 2019, representing the significant growth solar has seen over the past decade; total capacity was just at 43.7 GW in 2010. In 2019, solar became the fourth largest source of power on a capacity basis, behind coal (2,089 GW), gas (1,812 GW) and hydro (1,160 GW).
“Sharp declines in solar equipment costs, namely the modules that go on rooftops and in fields, have made this technology widely available for homes, businesses and grids,” Luiza Demôro, BNEF analyst and lead author of the study, said in a statement. “PV is now truly ubiquitous and a worldwide phenomenon.”
Despite occupying a large portion of the power capacity, solar accounted for 2.7% of electricity generated worldwide in 2019, up from 0.16% a decade ago. However, BNEF expects the market to continue to grow, estimating 140-178 GW of new solar to be built in 2022.
While there are more coal plants online now than a year ago, they are running less often and between 2018 and 2019 there was a 3% drop in the power produced from coal. Overall, BNEF estimated that the global power sector reduced CO2 emission 1.5% between 2018 and 2019.