April 5 (Renewables Now) - Global renewable generation capacity expanded by a record 167 GW, or 8.3%, in 2017, according to statistics announced today by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
This is in line with the 8-9% annual capacity growth in recent years, IRENA said.
At the end of 2017, the world had 2,179 GW of renewable generation capacity, of which 53% hydro, 23% wind, 18% solar and 6% other renewables.
Capacity expansion last year was led by solar, which grew by 94 GW, or 32%, followed by wind with an increase of 47 GW, or 10%.
China accounted for almost half of all new capacity in 2017, while Asia was responsible for 64%, up from 58% in the previous year. Europe added 24 GW and North America 16 GW.
The figures also show that there is now 6.6 GW of off-grid renewables capacity and around 146 million people are using off-grid renewables.
In the solar segment, China installed more than half of the world's new capacity, 53 GW. Asia as a whole added 72 GW, with 9.6 GW from India and 7 GW from Japan. The US installed 8.2 GW, with the countries that added more than 1 GW also including Turkey, Germany, Australia, South Korea and Brazil.
On the wind front, five countries delivered three-quarters of the new capacity: China (15 GW), the US (6 GW), Germany (6 GW), the UK (4 GW) and India (4 GW). Brazil and France also added more than 1 GW.
"This latest data confirms that the global energy transition continues to move forward at a fast pace, thanks to rapidly falling prices, technology improvements and an increasingly favourable policy environment," said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z Amin. "Renewable energy is now the solution for countries looking to support economic growth and job creation, just as it is for those seeking to limit carbon emissions, expand energy access, reduce air pollution and improve energy security," he added.