Based on recent estimates from the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar), the capacity of installed solar power around the globe is about 300 gigawatts.
According to the Association, approximately 70 gigawatts of solar power systems were installed around the world in 2016, covering an increase of about 30 percent of the capacity recorded in 2015.
The latest capacity can supply electricity to 25 million additional households assuming the world’s yearly energy consumption remains at 3,500 kilowatt hours.
With the continued solar revolution, uptake of solar panels is focusing more on economics; with positive ecological outcomes as the most notable side effect.
“Economic considerations are increasingly the primary motivation for making the decision to invest in PV,” said Carsten Körnig, Chief Executive Officer of BSW-Solar.
“The risk of stranded investments in unprofitable coal-fired power plants is increasing, because in the future their enormous climate impact costs will inevitably be priced in to the overall economic equation. Meanwhile, solar power already provides an extremely low-cost alternative.”
The Association’s report cited China where the construction of 100 coal-fired power plants carrying a supposed capacity above 100 gigawatts was brought to a halt, and instead installation of solar panels enhanced.
Additionally, the association noted that China was the biggest business market for PV systems, followed closely by the United States with about 13 gigawatts and Japan at 9 gigawatts. India plans to install 8 to 9 gigawatts in 2017.
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When it comes to Germany, Fraunhofer ISE states in one of its recent reports that last year, the country installed 1.2 GW of new solar system capacity. The study further reveals that approximately 38.3 TWh of PV-generated power was produced in 2016, representing nearly 7.4 per cent of the country’s net energy consumption. During holidays and weekdays, solar PV has the capacity to power up to 50 per cent of all Germany’s electricity needs.
By the end of 2016, Germany recorded a total of 41GW worth of solar capacity generated by over 1.5 million power plants. Overall, clean energy accounted for 37 per cent of Germany’s net electricity consumption last year.
IMAGE via plien