Global supplies of renewable electricity are growing faster than expected and could expand by 50% in the next half of the decade leading up to 2020, powered by a resurgence in solar energy and The International Energy Agency (IEA) found that solar, wind and hydropower projects are rolling out at their fastest rate in the four years that led up to 2020.
Its latest report in 2019 predicted that by the middle of the next deacde a new dawn for cheap solar power could see the world’s solar capacity grow by 600GW whcih equates to almost double the installed total electricity capacity of Japan that year. Overall, renewable electricity is expected to grow by 1,200GW in the next five years, the equivalent of the total electricity capacity of the US in 2019.
Renewable energy sources make up 26% of the world’s electricity today, but according to the IEA its share is expected to reach 30% by 2024. The resurgence follows a global slowdown in 2019, due to falling technology costs and rising environmental concerns. The IEA also expects solar energy to play the biggest role in jumpstarting fresh growth in global renewable energy due to the fact that falling costs are already below retail electricity prices in most countries. Solar PV is the single largest source of additional expansion potential, followed by onshore wind and hydropower.
The cost of solar power is expected to decline by a further 15% to 35% by 2024 which should spur further growth over the second half of the decade and the increasing requirments of energy-hungry businesses and factories is expected to be the main driver of the solar power boom as company bosses exploit falling costs to help cut their energy bills.
The number of home solar panels is also expected to more than double to reach around 100 million rooftops by the middle of the decade leading into 2030 with the strongest per capita growth expected in Australia, Belgium, California, the Netherlands and Austria. Despite this forecasted growth expected for solar over the next five years, panels will still cover only 6% of the world’s available rooftops, leaving room for further growth into the remainder of the decade.
China will account for 40% of global renewable capacity expansion leading up to 2024 and this will be in part due to improved system integration, lower curtailment rates and enhanced competitiveness of both solar PV and onshore wind. A more optimistic outlook for the European Union results from higher planned renewables auction volumes and faster distributed solar PV growth in member states to meet renewable energy targets. In the United States, wind and solar PV developers are rushing to complete projects before federal tax incentives end, while corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) and state-level policies contribute to growth.