Among renewables, solar registered the strongest growth among renewables, leaving wind power behind in 2016, according to BNEF. Overall, solar accounted for 19% of all new generating capacity added in Climatescope countries in 2016, up from 10.6% in 2015 and 2% in 2011 (Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance)
- 34 GW of new PV capacity came online in 2016 in 71 new emerging market countries
- China was the biggest market with 27 GW, while India added 4.2 GW
- Brazil, Chile, Jordan, Mexico, and Pakistan and 9 other nations saw PV capacity double or more
- Off-grid solar proliferated with the technology being used in micro-grids, pay-as-you-go battery/lantern systems, water pumps and mobile phone towers
- The growth is more or less organic in the off-grid solar segment, unencumbered by governments
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In 2016, 71 emerging markets commissioned new PV capacity of 34 GW. This is an increase from 22 GW added in 2015 and 3 GW from 2011. Total cumulative solar power capacity grew 54% YoY and has more than tripled in three years. This 34 GW alone would meet the total annual electricity demands of 45 million homes in India, or of every home in Peru or Nigeria, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) latest edition of its annual Climatoscope Survey.
While the installed capacity looks small in comparison to other surveys and official data in particular for China, BNEF says that its ‘methodology for counting installed solar project capacity differs from the Chinese government’s methodology as it counts solar projects as completed upon developer announcement of construction completion, while the government counts when projects are grid-connected, which would regularly result in discrepancies between BNEF and official government figures.’
Being conducted since 2012, Climatoscope is a country-by-country assessment, interactive report and index. It reports on clean energy investment and deployment activity in an increasing number of countries, reaching 71 in 2017.
Of this capacity addition in 2016, China alone added 27 GW, India contributed 4.2 GW. Brazil, Chile, Jordan, Mexico, and Pakistan and nine other nations saw PV capacity double or more. In all, the survey findings suggest, solar accounted for 19% of all new generating capacity added in Climatescope countries in 2016, up from 10.6% in 2015 and 2% in 2011.
Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists have pushed the use of PV in micro-grids, pay-as-you-go battery/lantern systems, water pumps and mobile phone towers. The survey points out that this growth is more or less organic, unencumbered by governments but rather taken forward by start-ups. More than 1.5 million homes in Africa use solar home systems (SHS), bought on a mobile-money enabled financing plan, up from just 600,000 at the end of 2015. Solar irrigation pumps installed in India has gone up to 128,000 in May, from just 12,000 in April 2014, for instance.
“The massive drop in photovoltaic module prices we’ve seen over the last several years continues to reverberate through developing countries,” said Ethan Zindler, head of Americas for BNEF. “It’s creating opportunities ranging from multi-million dollar projects that serve the grid, to small-scale installations that enable farmers to boost their yields through better irrigation and to connect to the Internet.”
Climatoscope is supported by the UK Department for International Development since 2014.