Renewable Energy

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Welcome to the PowerWeb Renewable Energy data and information section. On this page, we provide detailed charts and data from the leading publishers of the latest Wind Energy and Solar Photovoltaic (PV) forecasts. At this time, our data is limited to Wind and Solar but we may add other key segments, such as hydroelectric power. The data covers the world market for Wind and PV installations and we present both total cumulative installations and annual net new installations. In the following, we measure installation output by megawatts (MW) and gigawatts (GW).

Wind & Solar (worldwide) Wind Total Capacity Wind New Installations Solar Total Capacity Solar New Installations
2017 Forecast: 564.9 GW 68.0 GW 355.0 GW 67.0 GW
2016 Preliminary: 496.9 GW 64.0 GW 285.0 GW 61.0 GW
2016-2017 Change +13.7% +6.3% +24.6% +9.8%
Wind Cumulative Installations Wind Net New Installations Solar Cumulative Installations Solar Net New Installations
5-Year Industrial and Marine Gas & Steam Turbine Engine Data

Wind & Solar Energy Installation Data: 2000-2015 Actuals + 2016-2020 Forecast

The world market for renewable energy is booming and accounts for a small but rapidly growing share of total world energy consumption. In 2015, total investments in clean energy reached a new high of $329 billion worldwide. 2015 was a stellar year for the wind industry setting a new record with more than 63 GW installed, which brought the global total capacity to 433 GW. China led the way with a record 31 GW of new installed capacity, breaking the nation's previous record set last year. China now has more than 145 GW of wind power installed or more than the European Union. In 2015, China was the first nation ever to invest more than $100 billion in renewable energy in one year.

From being an expensive curiosity in research labs and on satellites in the 1980s, solar power has become a major challenger to conventional electricity generation technologies. The global solar PV industry experienced a new year of growth in 2015 reaching a total capacity of 229 GW, or more than 100 times the capacity in 2000. More than 50 GW of PV systems were installed globally in 2015 (40 GW in 2014). The forecast for 2016 and 2017 is 61 GW and 67 GW of global net new installations, respectively. In 2015, utility-scale PV systems dominated the global solar market, accounting for 32.6 GW equal to a 2/3 share of new installations.

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Global Wind & Solar Installations in Gigawatts (GW)

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Global Cumulative Installations 2000-2020e

Global Wind and Solar Energy - Total Installations in GW 2000-2015 and forecast from 2016-2020

WIND: While windmills have been built for centuries, it was not until the 1980s and 1990s that large utility scale wind farms were constructed. During the 1990s, wind power took off and grew into a multibillion dollar industry. By 1997, 1.5 GW of new capacity was installed worldwide (7.6 GW total global capacity). By year end 2000, 17.4 GW had been installed (3.7 GW new capacity during the year). Five years later, in 2005, total cumulative capacity was now at 59.2 GW with 11.5 GW of new capacity added. New installations kept growing at a rapid pace until 2010. From 2009 to 2012, the growth in new installations slowed and in 2013, the industry suffered a dramatic and unprecedented 9.2 GW (-21%) decline in new installations. The slump in new installations had a major impact on sales and profits of both wind turbine manufacturers and project developers. The industry quickly recovered in 2014 and in 2015 installed a record 63.5 GW of new capacity (432.9 GW total). In 2016, 64 GW in new installations are predicted equal to a very modest 0.8% increase followed by 68 GW (+6.3%) in 2017. For 2020, the forecast for new installations is 79.5 GW and a total installed capacity of 792.1 GW.

Over the years, the size of wind turbines have increased from just 75 KW in the 1980s, then 300-750 KW in the 1990s and 1.5-2.0 MW in the 2000s. According to Windpower Monthly, today, the largest wind turbines on the market are the 8 GW Vestas V164, the 8 MW Adwen AD-180, the 8 MW Siemens SWT-8.0-154, and the 7.58 MW Enercon E-126.

SOLAR: As a result of massive price declines in recent years, solar power is now widely recognized as a cost competitive and reliable source of energy.

Over the years, solar has lagged significantly behind wind power in terms of annual installed capacity and cumulative capacity but is rapidly closing the gap in annual installations. Already by 2019, it is predicted that solar will surpass wind in new installed capacity. The solar revolution began in earnest in 2008 when new installations soared to 6.7 GW from 2.5 GW the year before. The 268% surge preceded another 7.3 GW of installed capacity in 2009. In 2010, new installations more than doubled to 17.2 GW, bringing the global cumulative capacity to 40.3 GW. In 2011, new installations surged yet again and finished the year at 30.1 GW (70.5 GW total). 2012 was a flat year for solar with a 0.1 GW decline in new installations. Prior to 2012, the industry had ramped up capacity expecting another strong year of sales and profits. When this did not come to fruition, the industry was left with excess capacity. At the same time, prices of PV products such as panels, modules and cells declined and manufacturers with high-levels of debt quickly found themselves in a struggle to survive and several large companies went bankrupt. The industry recovered in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, as the wind power industry experienced a big slump in new capacity, solar for the first time surpassed wind in annual installations. Wind has since retaken the lead.

A year of strong growth is predicted for 2016 and new installations are expected to surpass the 60 GW mark for the first time with an increase of more than 22% to ~62 GW, up from 50.6 GW in 2015.

Annual New Installations 2000-2020e

Global Wind and Solar Energy - Annual Net New Installations in GW 2000-2015 and forecast from 2016-2020

Wind Energy Installations by Country and World Region in 2015

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Wind Energy Installed Capacity in MW by Country 2014

In 2015, China was by far the largest country by both new installed capacity (30.8 GW) and total capacity (145.4 GW). In second place, the United States boasted 74.5 GW of total wind power capacity by year's end 2015 - ahead of Germany (44.9 GW), India (25.1 GW), Spain (23.0 GW), and United Kingdom (13.6 GW). According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. wind power capacity was up 8.6 GW or 13.0% in 2015. The fluctuations of renewable installations in the U.S. market is an issue of politics and incentives. The good news is that, while politicians debate over subsidies, the renewable energy business has been steadily reducing costs and increasing efficiency to such an extent that renewables, in many cases, are now cost competitive with conventional forms of energy even without any form of subsidies.

Among the top 20 countries by total wind power capacity in 2015, the fastest growing by new installations were Brazil (+2.8 GW / +46.2%), Mexico (+0.7 GW / +30.3%), China (+30.8 GW / +26.8%), Turkey (+1.0 GW / +25.6%), and The Netherlands (+0.6 GW / +19.8%).

Solar Energy Installations by Country and World Region from 2000-2020

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The development of large solar power markets in Asia (China, India and Japan) and in the United States has demonstrated that solar is no longer Europe-centric. Far from it. Europe remains the leader with 97 GW of installed capacity at the end of 2015 (of which Germany alone accounts for 39.7 GW or 41%), however, Asia/Pacific with (at 96 GW) will almost certainly take over as new leader in 2016. In 2015, as expected, Germany surrendered its position as the #1 country by total installed capacity to China. During the year, the Chinese installed 15.2 GW of new PV systems and now has 43.4 GW cumulative capacity installed.

In the Asia/Pacific region, India only installed 0.6 GW and 2.0 GW in 2014 and 2015. However, India's total capacity is expected to grow from 5 GW in 2015 to 57 GW by 2020, which means it will be installing 52 GW from 2016-2020, or more than 10 GW annually on average. India's solar boom has only just begun. The nation targets 100 GW of solar power by 2022.

Out to 2020, significant new solar markets are expected to develop in Algeria, Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Today, most of these countries have very little installed capacity.

Total PV Cumulative Capacity by Country (top 10) in 2015

Total PV installed capacity in GW by Country (top 10) in 2015

Source: SolarPower Europe (2016). Global Market Outlook For Solar Power / 2016 - 2020.

In 2015, China surpassed Germany's 39.7 GW of total installed solar power capacity and claimed the position as the largest solar market by both new installations and cumulative capacity. The Chinese Government has a target of 18.1 GW in new installations for 2016. China is expected to grow its cumulative installed capacity from 43.4 GW in 2015 to 130 GW by the end of 2020, an increase of about 87 GW or more than 200%. China is officially targeting 143 GW by 2020, up from 100 GW previously announced.

The United States is expected to grow its cumulative installed capacity from 25.9 GW in 2015 to 85 GW by the end of 2020, an increase of almost 60 GW or 229%. At 85 GW in 2020, the U.S. will be in second place after China, 22 GW ahead of Japan, and 28 GW ahead of India. Over the next 5 years, we can expect to see Germany fall to fifth place with 48 GW ahead of Italy's 23 GW, United Kingdom (14 GW), France (13 GW), Australia (12 GW), and Pakistan (10 GW).

New PV Installations by Country (top 10) in 2015

New PV installed capacity in GW by Country (top 10) in 2015

Source: SolarPower Europe (2016). Global Market Outlook For Solar Power / 2016 - 2020.

China installed 15.2 GW of PV in 2015 supported by feed-in tariffs ahead. China is also the world's largest producer of PV modules (since 2007) and produces almost half of all PV grade poly-silicon. In second place, Japan installed 11.0 GW of new PV systems in 2015 - also supported by feed-in tariffs.

In the United States, the PV market continued its strong growth path with 7.3 GW installed. The ITC (Investment Tax Credit - a federal tax break policy) continues to drive the market, while net-metering policies have been implemented in 42 States. U.S. PV capacity continues to be concentrated in a small number of states, such as California, Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina, and New Jersey, which make up roughly 2/3rds of the market.

Total PV Cumulative Installed Capacity by Country (top 10) in 2015 and 2020

Total PV installed capacity forecast in GW by Country (top 10) in 2015 and 2020

Source: SolarPower Europe (2016). Global Market Outlook For Solar Power / 2016 - 2020.

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