Renewable energy is now a global fad as it accounted for two-thirds of new power added to the world’s grids in 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said, but the Paris-based group found solar was the technology that shone brightest in the review period.
Solar power was adjudged the fastest-growing source of new energy worldwide last year, outstripping the growth in all other forms of power generation for the first time and leading experts to hail a “new era”.
Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, said: “What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar photovoltaics [PV]. We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology up to 2022.”
The agency, which is funded by 28 member governments, admitted it had previously underestimated the speed at which green energy was growing.
The amount of renewable energy capacity forecast globally in 2022 has been revised upwards on last year’s forecast, driven by the IEA expecting a third more solar in China and India.
The (IEA) specifically found that the amount of power from solar grew by more than 50 percent, and has officially increased energy output globally at a faster rate than any other fuel.
The agency’s 2017 report on renewables indicates new solar capacity even overtook the net growth in coal, previously the biggest new source of power generation.
The growth in renewable power will be twice as large as gas and coal combined over the next five years, the IEA said. While that will take renewables’ share of electricity generation from 24% last year to 30% in 2022, coal will still be the biggest source of power.
The shift, according to the IEA was driven by falling prices and government policies, particularly in China, which accounted for almost half the solar panels installed.
The report specifically forecasts that off-grid solar capacity in Africa is set to almost triple in the next five years, saying that it will “bring basic electricity services to almost 70 million more people in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa”.
On off-grid capacity the Paris-based agency noted that off-grid solar is a ‘dynamic’ sector in Africa and Asia and is set to reach “over 3000 MW in 2022.”
CEO of Lumos Nigeria, Yuri Tsitrinbaum, said: “This is the latest evidence that off-grid solar is providing the answer to growing energy demand in Africa. There is no other option available that can provide energy that is as affordable, reliable, and clean.”
“We are changing the way people access electricity, and this is only the beginning. Mobile phones improved millions of lives, and now we are seeing the same thing with mobile electricity,” he added.
With the IEA forecasts, services like Lumos will be the catalysts and drivers of innovative payment solutions that can allow low-income populations access to electricity in Nigeria and on the continent