World adds 98 GW solar, 70 GW fossil fuel power capacity in 2017

Solar farm. Author: iamme ubeyou. License: CC0 1.0 Universal.

April 9 (Renewables Now) - Solar power capacity additions in 2017 reached 98 GW, beating the 70 GW of net installations across all fossil fuel technologies, the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report shows.

Solar accounted for 38% of all net power capacity installed globally last year, ranking first among all renewables, according to the report by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Total renewables, excluding large hydro, were responsible for a record 61% of the net power capacity additions in 2017, while the share of fossil fuel power plants was just 27%.

Investments in renewable power capacity reached USD 265 billion (EUR 216bn). In addition, USD 45 billion were invested in large hydro projects. Fossil fuel power generation investments amounted to USD 103 billion, while nuclear power plant investments stood at USD 42 billion.

China accounted for USD 126.6 billion of the total renewables investment and was the top solar market last year.

The table below shows details on installations by source. These figures may be revised during this year, as more information becomes available.

Source 2017 capacity
Solar 98 GW
Wind 52 GW (incl. 5 GW offshore)
Biomass and waste-to-energy Over 3 GW
Small hydro Under 3 GW
Geothermal 700 MW
Coal-fired plants 35 GW net (67 GW before 32 GW retirements)
Gas-fired plants 38 GW net (54 GW before 16 GW retirements)
Oil-fired plants -3 GW net
Large hydro dams 19 GW net
Nuclear 11 GW net

In addition to that, a record 1.2 GW of behind-the-meter and utility-scale battery storage systems were installed last year, and roughly 3.3 GW of utility-scale projects were announced.

The power generated by wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal, marine and small hydropower plant reached a share of 12.1% in 2017, up from 11% in 2016, avoiding around 1.8 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

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Browse all articles from Tsvetomira Tsanova

Tsvet has been following the development of the global renewable energy industry for almost nine years. She's got a soft spot for emerging markets.

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