Solar energy

Solar is scaling up rapidly, with capacity more than trebling over the past four years

New installations totaling more than 75 GW in 2016 took global solar PV power generating capacity to 301 GW by year-end, a 33.2% increase versus the end of 2015. Capacity has more than trebled in the past four years.

The largest increments in 2016 were recorded in China (34.5 GW) and the US (14.7 GW), together accounting for two-thirds of the growth in global solar capacity. Japan provided the third largest addition (8.6 GW). China also leads in terms of cumulative installed capacity (78.1 GW), with more than a quarter of the global total. Japan (42.8 GW) moved past Germany (41.3 GW) to take second place, with the US (40.3 GW) now close behind Germany.

Solar power generation enjoyed another year of very rapid growth in 2016, with a 29.6% increase. Its overall share of global power generation remains low (1.3%), but that share has more doubled in just three years. Solar is starting to have a noticeable impact in terms of sources of power generation growth, contributing more than 20% of the growth of global power in 2016.

Solar PV generation capacity (gigawatts, cumulative installed capacity)

Solar PV generation capacity

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