Global renewable energy capacity surged to new heights in 2015, recording the largest annual growth rate ever according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
IRENA’s “Renewable Capacity Statistics 2016” shows generation capacity from renewables grew by 152 GW worldwide – a rate of 8.3 percent – during 2015, with the majority of growth coming from new installations of wind and solar power.
The report finds that as of the end of 2015, a remarkable 1,985 GW of renewable capacity is installed globally.
“Renewable energy deployment continues to surge in markets around the globe, even in an era of low oil and gas prices. Falling costs for renewable energy technologies, and a host of economic, social and environmental drivers are favouring renewables over conventional power sources,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.
Sustained declines in the price of installing wind and solar energy contributed to a record year for both technologies. Wind capacity grew by 63 GW last year – 17 percent – thanks in part to a drop of 45 percent in the cost of onshore wind turbines since 2010. The price of solar PV has fallen by around 80 percent in the same period, helping solar power in 2015 add a record 47 GW of capacity – an increase of 26 percent.
Overall renewable capacity has increased by around one-third in the past five years, according to the report, with solar and wind the major contributors.