160 GW Global Solar PV Addition In 2021

IEA Forecasts World To Exit 2021 With 290 GW New Renewable Capacity

160 GW Global Solar PV Addition In 2021

Despite the current high commodity prices for solar PV, the IEA report sees the technology adding its highest installed capacity growth of 160 GW in 2021. Overall, by 2026 renewables should grow to 4,800 GW out of which solar could contribute 1,100 GW. (Source: IEA)

  • IEA says solar PV will be the powerhouse of growth for renewables globally in 2021 contributing 160 GW capacity
  • In 2026, solar’s annual growth may reach 260 GW, taking the total operational capacity of this source to 1,100 GW
  • Yet the striking growth of renewables is not enough to meet net zero emissions scenario by 2050 that the agency visualizes in the report
  • Stronger government action is needed for much faster growth of renewables going forward

The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects the world to install an all-time record high of 290 GW as renewable energy installations in 2021, with solar PV alone representing close to 160 GW as the ‘powerhouse’ of growth in the space, yet this growth of renewables would still won’t be enough to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The 17% annual growth expected for solar PV is to come despite the current high raw material and module prices the global industry is experiencing, thanks mainly to stronger policy support and ambitious climate targets announced for COP26 that ‘outweigh’ the current high prices.

Yet, the analysts warn that should commodity prices remain high through the end of next year, the cost of wind investments would go back up to levels last seen in 2015 and 3 years of cost reductions for solar PV would be erased.

With an anticipated addition of some 260 GW in 2026, operational solar PV capacity till 2026 should add up to around 1,100 GW, out of 4,800 GW renewables capacity globally. China will account for 43% of global renewable capacity growth. Along with other leading markets of Europe, the US and India, the quartet will claim 80% renewables capacity expansion globally.

In its new report Renewables 2021 Analysis and forecast to 2026, the IEA forecasts China to achieve its 1,200 GW wind and solar power capacity target in 2026, 4 years ahead of targeted year 2030 with the help of long-term contracts, improved grid integration, and cost competitiveness of solar and wind with coal (see China Aims For Over 1,200 GW Wind & Solar Power By 2030).

Despite this exceptional growth of renewables, the IEA doesn’t see it helping meet the report’s net zero emissions by 2050 scenario. It advocates much faster growth for renewables since it would mean annual capacity growth during 2021-2026 needs to be 80% faster than the accelerated growth the analysts quote in the accelerated scenario offered. To reach the target, governments would need to not only implement current and planned policies, but also strengthen these before 2026.

“Governments can build on the momentum of competitive solar and wind, but they must also significantly strengthen their policy focus on dispatchable renewable electricity and renewable energy use in buildings, industry and transport. Governments should also consider targeting much more economic recovery spending on renewables while also putting in place policies and regulations enabling higher mobilization of private capital,” reads the report.

The report is available for download on the IEA website.

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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