China
Featured image: Stock

By the end of 2017, global renewable generation capacity increased by 167GW and reached 2,179GW worldwide, this represents an annual growth around 8.3%.

These figures are contained in new data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Renewable Capacity Statistics 2018 contains nearly 15,000 data points from more than 200 countries and territories. Read more: Renewables sector abuzz with celebration

“This latest data confirms that the global energy transition continues to move forward at a fast pace, thanks to rapidly falling prices, technology improvements and an increasingly favourable policy environment,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

According to Amin, renewable energy is now the solution for countries looking to support economic growth and job creation, “just as it is for those seeking to limit carbon emissions, expand energy access, reduce air pollution and improve energy security.”

He also noted that a complete energy transformation goes beyond electricity to include the end-use sectors of heating, cooling and transportation, where there is substantial opportunity for growth of renewables.

Renewable generation capacity

Solar photovoltaics (PV) grew by a whopping 32% in 2017, followed by wind energy, which grew by 10%. Underlying this growth are substantial cost reductions, with the levelised cost of electricity from solar PV decreasing by 73%, and onshore wind by nearly one-quarter, between 2010 and 2017.

Both technologies are now well within the cost range of power generated by fossil fuels, IRENA noted.

China continued to lead global capacity additions, installing nearly half of all new capacity in 2017. Ten per cent of all new capacity additions came from India, mostly in solar and wind.

Asia accounted for 64% of new capacity additions in 2017, up from 58% last year.  Europe added 24GW of new capacity in 2017, followed by North America with 16GW.

Brazil set itself on a path of accelerated renewables deployment, installing 1GW of solar generation, a ten-fold increase from the previous year.

Off-grid renewables capacity saw unprecedented growth in 2017, with an estimated 6.6GW serving off-grid customers.  This represents a 10% growth from last year, with around 146 million people now using off-grid renewables.

A full report is available for download here