India, China Help Establish Asia’s Leadership Role in Solar Energy: IRENA

The world added 171 GW of renewable energy, observing growth of 7.9% in renewable capacity during the year. These findings were reported by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in its new publication titled ‘Renewable Capacity Statistics 2019’.

According to the report, the total global renewable generation capacity was 2,351 GW at the end of 2018. Hydro accounted for the largest share of the renewable capacity with a total installed capacity of 1,172 GW. Wind and solar energy accounted for 564 GW and 486 GW respectively.

The report highlights that new solar and wind energy installations are mostly driving the growth in renewable capacity expansion, accounting for 84 per cent of all new capacity installed in 2018.

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Solar energy witnessed the fastest growth at 24 per cent with capacity addition of 94 GW. Wind energy posted a growth of 10 per cent with the capacity addition of 49 GW. In comparison, hydropower grew by just 2 per cent with a capacity increase of 21 GW.

Most of the new renewable energy installations are taking place in Asia as it added over 105 GW of renewable capacity and accounted for 61 percent of new capacity additions in 2018. Asia’s share in global renewable generation capacity accounted for 44 percent. In comparison, North America’s share of global renewable generation capacity accounted for 16 percent while Europe stood at 23 percent.

“Asia continued to dominate the global solar capacity expansion with a 64 GW increase (about 70 percent of the global expansion in 2018). In a repeat of last year, China, India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea accounted for most of this. Other major increases were in the U.S., Australia, and Germany”, IRENA highlighted in its report.

The report also mentions that the share of renewables in the growth of electricity generation capacity has increased from 25 percent in 2001 to 50 percent in 2012. Now, this figure reached 63 percent in 2018. The share of renewables in total generation capacity has also increased from 22 percent to 33 percent over the same period.

Recently, Mercom reported that India was the third largest solar market behind China and the United States with 8.3 GW of solar PV capacity installed in 2018. Japan and Germany were the fourth and fifth largest solar markets in the world.

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In December 2018, IRENA had reported that total global energy storage capacity could triple by 2030. It also projected that the total installed cost of a lithium-ion battery in stationary applications could fall by 54 percent by 2030.

Mercom had previously forecasted 8 GW of solar PV installations in India in 2018 due to a lack of a strong project pipeline. Recently, Mercom reported that the Indian solar market installed 8,263 MW in 2018, down 15.5 percent compared to 9,782 MW in 2017 as the safeguard duty, GST issues, and land and transmission issues took a toll on large-scale installations.

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