Review of global green energy shows solar pv is on the rise

The world now adds more renewable power capacity than it does fossil fuel capacity each year, with 147 GW of renewable energy capacity added in 2015.

The yearly review of renewable energy usage from Ren21, the global renewable energy multi-stakeholder network, tracks the use of renewables in the power sector, in heating and cooling, and in transport, but it does not break out the water sector separately.


In the power sector, wind and solar pv accounted for 77 per cent of new renewables installations, and hydro power the remainder. There was enough capacity in renewable sources to provide 23.7 per cent of global electricity, and hydro power accounted for 16.6 per cent, by the end of 2015.


Growth in renewables in heating and cooling slowed, accounting for 8 per cent of heating and cooling in buildings and industry, the majority of which is biomass; and liquid biomass accounted for 4 per cent of global road transport fuel.


Global investment in renewable power and fuels, excluding heating and cooling, rose by 4.7 percent to $285.9 billion in 2015, up from $273 billion in 2014. Including investments in hydro power projects larger than 50 MW, it totalled $328.9 billion.


Total renewable power capacity increased by 8.7 per cent to 1,849 GW in 2015. Of this, solar pv capacity rose by 28 per cent to 227 GW, or 12 per cent of total renewable power capacity — alongside hydro power, bio power, geothermal power and wind power. China, Japan, and the US accounted for most of the new solar pv capacity.


Advancements in renewable sources for heating and cooling, and transport, lagged behind the power sector. Only 21 countries have renewable heat obligations, and only 66 countries have biofuel mandates. This compares to 114 counties that have renewable energy regulations for power.