Solar PV leads the way in power generating capacity and is considered a cost-competitive source of new generation in many emerging markets across the world. The annual market increased nearly 50% to at least 75 GWdc – equivalent to more than 31,000 solar panels installed every hour – raising the global total to at least 303 GWdc. The top five countries, led by China, accounted for 85% of additions. Yet emerging markets on all continents are contributing significantly to global growth, and many see solar PV as a cost-competitive source for increasing electricity production and for providing energy access.
During 2016, the solar PV capacity was added worldwide – equivalent to the installation of more than 31,000 solar panels every hour. More solar PV capacity was installed in 2016 (up 48% over 2015) than the cumulative world capacity five years earlier. By year’s end, global solar PV capacity totalled at least 303 GW. Market expansion was due largely to the increasing competitiveness of solar PV, as well as to rising demand for electricity and improving awareness of solar PV’s potential as countries seek to alleviate pollution and reduce CO2 emissions.
Efforts to advance recycling processes continued, although there was relatively small demand for recycling of waste and solar panels (at end-of-life, or damaged or defective panels) as of 2016.
In many emerging markets solar PV now is considered a cost-competitive source for increasing electricity production and for providing energy access. Nevertheless, markets in most locations continue to be driven largely by government incentives or regulations.
Source: Renewables 2017 - REN21 (Renewable Energy Police Network for the 21st. Century)