Renewable Energy

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Welcome to the PowerWeb Renewable Energy data and information section. On this page, we provide detailed charts and data from the leading publishers of the latest Wind Energy and Solar Photovoltaic (PV) forecasts. At this time, our data is limited to Wind and Solar but we may add other key segments, such as hydroelectric power. The data covers the world market for Wind and PV installations and we present both total cumulative installations and annual net new installations. In the following, we measure installation output by megawatts (MW) and gigawatts (GW).

Wind & Solar (worldwide) Wind Total Capacity Wind New Installations Solar Total Capacity Solar New Installations
2019 Forecast: 655.9 GW 65.4 GW 646.8 GW 137.5 GW
2018 Preliminary: 591.5 GW 51.3 GW 509.3 GW 102.4 GW
2017-2018 Change +10.9% +27.4% +27.0% +34.3%
Wind Cumulative Installations Wind New Installations Solar Cumulative Installations Solar New Installations
5-Year Industrial and Marine Gas & Steam Turbine Engine Data

Wind & Solar Energy Installation Data: 2000-2018 Actuals + 2019-2023 Forecast

The world market for renewable energy is booming and accounts for a small but rapidly growing share of total world electricity consumption. In 2018, out of $775 billion in global power sector investments, renewables accounted for more than $300 billion. 2018 was a relatively weak year for the wind industry with new installations down 4.0% to 51.3 GW from 53.5 GW in 2017, which brought the total global capacity to 591.5 GW. China led the way with 23 GW of new installed capacity ahead of the U.S., Germany, India, and Brazil. China now has more than 211 GW of wind power installed or more than all of Europe combined. The U.S. has almost 97 GW.

From being an expensive curiosity in research labs and on satellites in the 1980s, solar power or PV has become a major challenger to conventional electricity generation technologies. The global solar PV industry experienced a new record year of growth in 2016 reaching total capacity of 509.3 GW, or nearly 400 times the capacity in 2000. More than 102 GW of new PV systems were installed globally in 2018 (99.1 GW in 2017). The forecast for 2019 is 137.5 GW of global new installations. In 2018, utility-scale systems dominated the global solar market, accounting for 72.7 GW or a 71% share of new installations vs. 72% in 2017.

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Global Wind & Solar Installations in Gigawatts (GW)

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Global Cumulative Installations 2000-2023e

Global Wind and Solar Energy - Total Installations in GW 2000-2018 and forecast from 2019-2023

WIND: While windmills have been built for centuries, it was not until the 1980s and 1990s that large utility scale wind farms were constructed. During the 1990s, wind power took off and grew into a multibillion dollar industry. By 1997, 1.5 GW of new capacity was installed worldwide (7.6 GW total global capacity). By year end 2000, 17.4 GW had been installed (3.7 GW new capacity during the year). Five years later, in 2005, total cumulative capacity was now at 59.2 GW with 11.5 GW of new capacity added. New installations kept growing at a rapid pace until 2010. From 2009 to 2012, the growth in new installations slowed and in 2013, the industry suffered a dramatic and unprecedented 9.2 GW (-21%) decline in new installations. The slump in new installations had a major impact on sales and profits of both wind turbine manufacturers and project developers. The industry quickly recovered in 2014 and in 2015 installed a record 63.8 GW of new capacity (432.7 GW total). New installations declined to 54.9 GW in 2016 and 53.5 GW in 2017. In 2018, 60.9 GW of new installations were expected but only 51.3 GW were installed at year end. In 2019, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) forecasts 65.4 GW of new installations. For 2023, the forecast for new installations is 58.7 GW and a total installed capacity of 903.0 GW.

Over the years, the size of wind turbines have increased from just 75 KW in the 1980s, then 300-750 KW in the 1990s and 1.5-2.0 MW in the 2000s. Today, the largest wind turbines are for offshore use. According to Windpower Monthly, today, the largest wind turbines on the market today are the 9.5 GW Vestas V164, the 8 MW Adwen AD 8-180, the 8 MW Siemens Gamesa SG 8.0-167 DD, and the 7.58 MW Enercon E-126. MHI Vestas Offshore expects to deliver 10 MW V164 variants from 2021. Also, Siemens Gamesa expects to bring a competing 10 MW wind turbine, the SG 10.0-193 DD, to market in 2022.

SOLAR: As a result of massive price declines in recent years, solar power is now widely recognized as a cost competitive and reliable source of energy.

Over the years, solar has lagged significantly behind wind power in terms of annual installed capacity and cumulative capacity but is rapidly closing the gap in annual installations. Already by 2019, it is predicted that solar will surpass wind in new installed capacity. The solar revolution began in earnest in 2008 when new installations soared to 6.7 GW from 2.5 GW the year before. The 268% surge preceded another 7.3 GW of installed capacity in 2009. In 2010, new installations more than doubled to 17.2 GW, bringing the global cumulative capacity to 40.3 GW. In 2011, new installations surged yet again and finished the year at 30.1 GW (70.5 GW total). 2012 was a flat year for solar with a 0.1 GW decline in new installations. Prior to 2012, the industry had ramped up capacity expecting another strong year of sales and profits. When this did not come to fruition, the industry was left with excess capacity and prices of PV products such as panels, modules and cells declined and manufacturers with high-levels of debt quickly found themselves in a struggle to survive. The industry recovered in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, as the wind power industry experienced a big slump in new capacity, solar for the first time surpassed wind in annual installations. Wind retook the lead in new installations in 2014 and 2015 but in 2016, solar opened up a wide gap with 78 GW in new installations or 23 GW ahead of wind followed by 99 GW installed in 2017. In 2018, new PV installations were twice as high as wind (102.4 GW vs. 51.3 GW).

A year of strong PV growth is expected in 2019. SolarPower Europe forecasts a level of new installations between 84.5 GW (low) and 165.4 GW (high). 137.5 GW are required to reach SolarPower Europe's expected 2019 mid-scenario of 647 GW total installed capacity.

Annual New Installations 2000-2023e

Global Wind and Solar Energy - Annual Net New Installations in GW 2000-2018 and forecast from 2019-2023

Wind Energy Installations by Country and World Region in 2018

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Wind Energy Installed Capacity in MW by Country 2018

In 2018, China was by far the largest wind energy nation by both new installed capacity (23.0 GW) and total capacity (211.4 GW). In second place, the United States boasts 96.7 GW of total wind power capacity by the end of 2018 - ahead of Germany (59.3 GW), India (35.1 GW), Spain (23.5 GW), and United Kingdom (21.0 GW). According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. wind power capacity was up 7.6 GW or 8.5% in 2017. The fluctuations of renewable installations in the U.S. market in the recent past are an issue of politics and incentives. In February 2018, the GWEC released its annual market statistics and stated that "wind is the most competitively priced technology in many if not most markets; and the emergence of wind/solar hybrids, more sophisticated grid management and increasingly affordable storage begin to paint a picture of what a fully commercial fossil-free power sector will look like."

Among the top 20 countries by total wind power capacity in 2018, the fastest growing by new installations were Mexico (+0.9 GW / +23.2%), Brazil (+1.9 GW / +15.2%), China (+23.0 GW / +12.2%), France (+1.6 GW / +11.3%), and Sweden (+0.7 GW / +10.6%).

Solar Energy Installations by Country and World Region from 2000-2023

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The development of large solar power markets in Asia (China, India and Japan) and in the United States has demonstrated that solar is no longer Europe-centric. Far from it. In 2016, Asia-Pacific surpassed Europe for the first time to become the largest solar power region in the world with 147 GW of total installed capacity, equal to a 48% global market share. In 2018, Asia-Pacific commanded a 70% new installation market share. In 2015, Germany surrendered its position as the #1 country by total installed capacity to China. During 2018, the Chinese installed 44.4 GW of new PV systems down from a record 52.8 GW the year before. As of year end 2018, the country had a whopping 175 GW cumulative capacity installed.

In the past few years, India has become a dominant player on the world PV stage. India installed 0.6 GW in 2014 which is dwarfed by the 9.6 GW and 8.3 GW it installed in 2017 and 2018, respectively. India's total capacity is expected to grow from 27.3 GW in 2018 to 116 GW by 2023, which means the country will be installing almost 90 GW from 2019-2023, or nearly 18 GW annually, on average.

Out to 2023, significant new solar markets are expected to develop in Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, UAE, and Ukraine. Today, these countries have relatively little installed capacity.

Total PV Cumulative Capacity by Country (top 10) in 2018

Total PV installed capacity in GW by Country (top 10) in 2018

Source: SolarPower Europe (2019). Global Market Outlook for Solar Power / 2019 - 2023.

In 2015, China surpassed Germany's installed base of solar power capacity and claimed the position as the largest solar market by both new installations and cumulative capacity. China is expected to grow its cumulative installed capacity from 175 GW in 2018 to a staggering 448 GW by the end of 2023, an increase of 273 GW or more than 150%.

The United States is expected to grow its cumulative installed capacity from 62.1 GW in 2018 to 132.4 GW by the end of 2023, an increase of 70 GW or 113%. At 132 GW in 2023, the U.S. will be in second place after China, 16 GW ahead of India, and 50 GW ahead of Japan. Over the next 5 years, we can expect to see Germany fall to fifth place with 73 GW ahead of Australia's 45 GW, Italy (29 GW), Spain (25 GW), South Korea (25 GW), and France (22 GW).

New PV Installations by Country (top 10) in 2018

New PV installed capacity in GW by Country (top 10) in 2018

Source: SolarPower Europe (2019). Global Market Outlook for Solar Power / 2019 - 2023.

China installed 44.4 GW of PV in 2018, a 16% decrease from 2017. The decline came as a surprise to many, however, during 2018, China stopped its generous feed-in tariff subsidy program, to make itself fit for the grid parity age. China is also the world's largest producer of PV modules and PV grade polysilicon.

The United States was the world's second largest solar power market in 2018 and installed 10.6 GW of new PV systems, down from the record level of 14.7 GW in 2016. Overall, the last few years have been outstanding for the U.S. PV industry. 2018 was the sixth straight year in which solar was one of the top two sources of new electricity generation capacity. New installed PV capacity in the U.S. is expected to increase by 14% to 12.0 GW in 2019.

Total PV Cumulative Installed Capacity by Country (top 10) in 2018 and 2023

Total PV installed capacity forecast in GW by Country (top 10) in 2018 and 2023

Source: SolarPower Europe (2019). Global Market Outlook for Solar Power / 2019 - 2023.

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