Solar Accounted For 60% Of New Generation Capacity In Last 5 Years: IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) report titled “World Energy Outlook”, shares an update on India’s initiative to build energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report states that recent events, such as rising heatwaves and other extreme weather events, have not caused a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions. It further adds that it accredits the increased use of renewable energy, which has increased its contribution to the power capacity addition. The report anticipates that solar PV alone cannot get the world on track to meet its climate goals, but, more than any other clean technology, it can light up the way.


The report found that India has reportedly worked to build power generation and refining capacity to provide affordable access to energy. Since 2000, India has brought electricity to 810 million people, which is reportedly a larger population than that in the European Union and the United States combined. Through this initiative, the report found that India has brought clean cooking access to 655 million people over the same period.

Despite this, 430 million people continue to live in households that use traditional biomass today, the report elaborates. The IEA finds that over the past five years, in India, solar PV has accounted for nearly 60% of new generation capacity. In this regard, India has had the largest light-emitting diode (LED) adoption campaign in the world, and the study shows that around 370 million LEDs will be distributed through the UJALA scheme by 2023. This would in turn support India in achieving self-sufficiency in petroleum refining capacity despite being a net crude oil importer, although certain petroleum products continue to be imported, the report adds. This means that India is reportedly moving into a new phase in its energy development, which would bring increased regulation with a focus on clean energy deployment and the creation of domestic clean energy technology supply chains, states the report.

Urban transportation is turning green.

The report finds that the global population is expected to grow by about 1.7 billion by 2050, which is almost all urban areas in Asia and Africa. The report highlights that India is one of the world’s largest sources of energy, as demand growth was observed in the STEPS (Stated Energy Policy Scenario) ahead of Southeast Asia and Africa. The report states that getting on track to meet these targets, including net zero goals, has broad implications for future pathways.

While reportedly progress has been made towards universal access to modern energy, with some 670 million people gaining access to modern cooking fuels, In this case, 500 million people will have access to electricity by 2030. This means that there is ample global manufacturing capacity that can be offered by solar PV. In this, renewables are set to contribute 80% of new power capacity to 2030 in the STEPS, with solar PV alone accounting for more than half. The report highlights that solar has become a major global industry and is set to transform electricity markets even in the STEPS. By the end of the decade, the report forecasts that the world could have manufacturing capacity for more than 1,200 GW of panels per year. But in the STEPS, only 500 GW will be deployed globally in 2030. Boosting deployment up from these levels raises some complex questions. It would require measures—notably expanding and strengthening grids and adding storage—to integrate the additional solar PV into electricity systems and maximize its impact.

Manufacturing capacity is also highly concentrated.

The report indicates that China is already the largest producer, and its expansion plans far outstrip those in other countries. Therefore, trade would continue to be vital to support the worldwide deployment of solar, states the report. The report evaluates the importance of using 70% of the anticipated solar PV manufacturing capacity that would bring deployment to the levels projected in the NZE scenario. The report suggests that through such an effective integration, it would further cut fossil fuel use—first and foremost coal. The report explores how the STEPS projections would change if the world added over 800 GW of new solar PV per year by 2030. The report evaluates that it would be particularly strong for China, reducing coal-fired generation by a further 20% by 2030 compared with the STEPS.

The report adds that the average annual capacity factor for coal-fired power plants would fall to around 30% in 2030, from over 50% today. The report found that, as a result, it would spread well beyond China to more than 70 GW of additional solar PV deployed on average each year to 2030 across Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. As a result, it would reduce fossil fuel-fired generation in these regions by about one-quarter in 2030 compared with the STEPS.