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Int'l Energy Agency Sees New Era in Solar Power

Int'l Energy Agency Sees New Era in Solar PowerInt'l Energy Agency Sees New Era in Solar Power

New solar photovoltaic capacity increased by 50% in 2016, according to a renewables market analysis and forecast from the International Energy Agency.

Additions of solar PV grew faster than any other fuel and surpassed the net growth in coal, IEA added. This was the first time this has happened, it said. Photovoltaic refers to a way of directly converting light from the sun into electricity, CNBC reported.

"We see renewables growing by about 1,000 GW by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build," Fatih Birol, IEA's executive director, said in the report.

"What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV," Birol added. "We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology through 2022."

According to IEA's report on Wednesday, renewables accounted for nearly two-thirds of net new power capacity in 2016. Almost 165 gigawatts came on stream in 2016, with IEA adding that renewable electricity capacity looked set to grow by 43% by 2022.

Speaking to CNBC on Wednesday, Birol said this year's report showed another record for growth in renewable energy.

"Every year, there is a record in renewables. But this year, the solar power plant additions are higher than that of wind, that of coal, that of gas and that of nuclear. And more than 50% of those (additions) comes from one country, which is China," he said.

Looking ahead, IEA said China, India and the US would account for two-thirds of worldwide renewable expansion by 2022.

When it comes to power generation, IEA said renewable electricity was seen growing by over a third by 2022, hitting more than 8,000 terawatt/hour. This figure, IEA said, was equivalent to the power consumption of China, India and Germany combined.

 

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