Big solar nears 100GW of installed capacity

Big solar nears 100GW of installed capacity

As Australia’s big solar market gears up for a potentially “huge” 2017, 2016 has been chalked up as another record year for utility-scale solar, globally, with cumulative capacity falling just short of 100GW, and a new annual record for new installations set at almost 35GW.

According to figures released by, new capacity growth in the 4MW-and-above solar market was led by China and India – and capped off by a bumper final month in the US – pushing the world’s installed large-scale solar capacity to 96MW by the end of last year.

By continent, as you can see in the chart below, North America was up 129 per cent on its 2015 figures, after registering almost 3GW of new capacity in December alone.

new annual capacity

In Asia, where India has joined China as one of the world’s top utility-scale markets, there was 57 per cent year on year growth, accounting for about two-thirds of new global capacity in 2016.

Europe let the side down, however, with a 50 per cent decline in the market since 2015, a slump Wiki-Solar puts down to “adverse government action” in the UK.

Africa and South America both grew by an enormous 200 per cent-plus; and Australasia stayed level, with a total at the end of 2016 of just 0.3GW, although like other market watchers, Wiki-Solar says the region “promises more in the future,” not least from the Australian development pipeline.

cumulative operating capacity

Source: Re-new Economy

Date: April 2017

Watch the infographic

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