IEA Revises Solar PV Forecast Up by 1/3 Over Last Year’s Report; “Solar PV is entering a new era”

For years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has been accused of being too conservative in its forecasts for clean energy. With its latest report, however, it seems that the IEA is shifting its views in a much more bullish direction when it comes to the future of renewables.

First, see below for a new video by the IEA, which makes the points that: 1) “2016 was another record year for renewables,” with “almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world [coming] from renewable energy”; 2) this growth was due in large part to a “50% growth in solar PV capacity, which surpassed net growth in coal for the first time to become the world’s fastest-growing source of power“; 3) “By 2022, renewable electricity capacity should increase by 43%, equivalent to half the current global capacity in coal power, which has taken 80 years to build“; 4) “By 2022, renewable electricity generation is expected to grow by more than a third to a total of 8,000 terawatt hours, equal to the combined total consumption of China, India & Germany”; 5) “With renewable energy continuing to break records, integration into the grid is becoming a critical challenge for governments.”

Next, here are a few highlights from the presentation accompanying the IEA’s new report.

  • “Policy support & technology progress continue to drive robust growth in renewables”
  • “Competitive auctions are seeing record-low prices for wind & solar”and are driving costs down
  • “Prospects for renewables underpinned by need to address core energy challenges” – air pollution, climate change, “universal access to modern energy”
  • “Renewables hitting new records driven by solar PV”
  • “China continues to lead growth while India overtakes the EU”
  • “Solar PV enabling electrification in India, Bangladesh and sub-Saharan Africa”
  • “Renewables closing the gap with coal”
  • “Progress in renewable heat depends on strong policies”
  • “Despite rapid growth in EVs, decarbonisation of transport is a long way off”
  • “Policymakers have to turn their focus to system integration & expanding the use of renewables for heating & cooling”

Finally, here are two interesting graphics that illustrate the increase in wind and solar penetration and the sharp decline in clean energy costs.

For more on this exciting new outlook by the IEA, see here for a press release, here for the executive summary, and here for the full report.