Global Solar Installations Grew 29.3% in 2017
Global solar power installed capacity additions grew by 29.3% to 98.9GW extra in 2017, up from the 76.5GW added the previous year, according to industry Association SolarPower Europe.
China, which by the end of 2017 saw an increase of 52.8GW up 58% from the 34.5GW added in 2016. The USA (+11.8 GW) is second on the list with India (+9.6 GW) third.
In Europe (including non-EU nations), solar capacity grew by 28.4% last year, but is behind the big three nations of China, the USA and India, with capacity of 8.6GW added. The EU nations saw a more modest increase with an extra 6.03% capacity installed, an increase of 6%.
Christian Westermeier, President of SolarPower Europe commented: “It is good to see European solar growing again, and it is particularly encouraging that this increase is at about the same level as the global market. Yet the EU has a lot of work to do if it wants to keep pace with the rest of the world on solar energy — and therefore we hope that the EU will agree to a 35% Renewables target in the Clean Energy package”.
In Europe, Turkey was the largest European solar market in 2017, growing around 213% year-on-year and connecting at least 1.79 GW to the grid.
Germany added approximately 1.75 GW, with the UK adding 912MW – a far cry from the 4.1GW it connected in 2015.
“After an astonishing 50% growth in 2016, many solar experts did not expect any growth in 2017,” said Michael Schmela, Executive Advisor and Head of Market Intelligence at SolarPower Europe.
“The fact that we saw solar continue to grow at such a high rate despite these analyses proves that solar has been constantly underestimated. The solar revolution is unstoppable and happening much faster than anticipated.”
James Watson, CEO of SolarPower Europe, said: “Solar’s continued growth is great news as we move the global energy transition forward – but Europe is at risk of being left behind. The EU must ensure that it addresses obstacles to solar’s potential, such as barriers to self-consumption and it must ensure a strong framework for small scale solar. The EU must support policies that encourage more solar installations, such as the removal of trade barriers on solar panels. Not only will this ensure a clean energy future for the EU, but it will boost local development, it is expected that solar will provide over 40,000 more jobs in Europe by 2019 if the trade barriers are removed.”