Technology & Science

Renewable power will grow 50% in next 5 years, IEA says

Global renewable energy capacity is set to rise by 50 per cent in five years, driven by solar photovoltaic (PV) installations on homes, buildings and industry, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Solar power will account for nearly 60% of growth, followed by onshore wind

The International Energy Agency predicts global renewable power capacity will grow 50 per cent in the next five years, with 60 per cent of the growth coming from solar and 25 per cent from onshore wind. (CBC News)

Global renewable energy capacity is set to rise by 50 per cent in five years, driven by solar photovoltaic (PV) installations on homes, buildings and industry, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Total renewable-based power capacity will rise by 1.2 terawatts (TW) by 2024 from 2.5 TW last year, equivalent to the total installed current power capacity of the United States.

Solar PV will account for nearly 60 per cent of this growth and onshore wind 25 per cent, the IEA's annual report on global renewables showed.

The share of renewables in power generation is expected to rise to 30 per cent in 2024 from 26 per cent today.

Falling technology costs and more effective government policies have helped to drive the higher forecasts for renewable capacity deployment since last year's report, the IEA said.

"Renewables are already the world's second largest source of electricity, but their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality and energy access goals," said Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director.

"As costs continue to fall, we have a growing incentive to ramp up the deployment of solar PV," he added.

A vehicle drives past the solar panels near wind turbines at a wind and solar energy storage and transmission power station of State Grid Corporation of China, in Zhangjiakou of Hebei province, on March 18, 2016. The share of renewables in power generation is expected to rise to 30 per cent in 2024 from 26 per cent today. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

The cost of generating electricity from distributed solar PV (PV systems on homes, commercial buildings and industry) is already below retail electricity prices in most countries.

Solar PV generation costs are expected to decline a further 15 per cent to 35 per cent by 2024, making the technology more attractive for adoption, the IEA said.

However, policy and tariff reforms are needed to ensure solar PV growth is sustainable and avoid disruption to electricity markets and higher energy costs, the report said.