Among all power generating sources installed in 2019, solar PV was the leading technology with 118 GW added in 2019. Its cumulative share at the end of 2019 reached 651 GW, next only to coal, gas and hydro. It even surpassed wind in cumulative capacity, yet both solar and wind couldn’t stop 39 GW of new coal capacity installation last year.
- BloombergNEF’s new report counts solar PV as the leading power generating source in 2019 with 118 GW installed
- Cumulative capacity of solar PV last year reached 651 GW, making it the 4th largest power source on a capacity basis
- The growth of solar is aided by sharp decline in costs and its versatility for various segments
- For 2022, BloombergNEF analysts forecast between 140 GW to 178 GW of new PV capacity
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In its latest report Power Transition Trends 2020, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BloombergNEF) counts solar PV as the leading power generating technology installed in 2019 compared to all other sources of energy. As much as 45% of all new capacity added last year was solar in 1/3rd of the world opting for it. Total installed solar PV capacity globally in 2019 was 118 GW, it says.
In 2022, analysts at BloombergNEF forecast the world to add between 140 GW to 178 GW of solar PV capacity. Back in May 2020, BloombergNEF’s Head of Solar Jenny Chase said she estimates 98 GW new solar capacity in 2020 in the worst case scenario expecting COVID-19 to continue and other factors going bad. In a central forecast in case of a multi wave pandemic, her guidance for this year was 111 GW (see BloombergNEF Revises 2020 Solar Forecast, Again).
Some of the main findings of this study are as follows:
- 81 nations built at least 1 MW solar PV during 2019 with wind and solar accounting for over 2/3rd of new capacity installed.
- From 2010 to 2019, cumulative solar PV capacity of the world increased from 43.7 GW to 651 GW.
- It was the 4th largest power source on a capacity basis, behind coal (2,089 GW), gas (1,812 GW) and hydro (1,160 GW); wind slipped to 5th spot with 644 GW installed globally
- There is now more wind and solar capacity online worldwide than total capacity from all technologies, clean or dirty, in the U.S.
- Despite this stupendous growth, solar still accounted for only 2.7% of electricity generation last year around the world, because of its lower capacity factors compared to fossil fuels.
- Last year was the first one that recorded a fall in coal generation since 2014-2015, and average utilization rate of coal-fired plants dropped from 57% in 2010 to 50% in 2019.
- Coal continues to be on the minds of businesses and policymakers as 39 GW of net new coal capacity was installed last year, a significant increase from 19 GW added in 2018.
“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,” said BNEF Analyst and Lead Author of the study, Luiza Demôro. “PV is now truly ubiquitous and a worldwide phenomenon.”