The rapid rollout of solar, hydropower and onshore wind in China has driven global installed capacity of green energy to 913GW.
China’s ambitious green energy rollout pushed the global renewable energy industry pass its latest milestone last year, as global installed capacity hit a record 913.5GW, according to new data released by research firm GlobalData.
At the same time it retained its title as the leading installer of solar power for the second year running, said Ankit Mathur, GlobalData’s practice head for power.
“China became the largest consumer of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules in 2014, overtaking both Japan and the US,” he explained in a statement. “China’s annual solar PV installations have grown rapidly over the past few years, from 500MW in 2010, to 10.6GW in 2014, and an estimated 18.43GW in 2015.”
Mr Mathur added that China was closely followed in the solar race by Japan and the US, with both countries adding an estimated 8.2GW each of solar power in 2015.
At the same time a new report just released from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) predicted 2016 would see the continuation of the global trend towards cheaper and greener energy.
The wide-ranging report, which sets out predictions for 2016 across a variety of industries, said the slumping price of fossil fuels would fail to curb the rollout of renewable energy around the world.
The report predicts that in 2016 renewable energy would account for more than half of all newly installed electricity capacity globally, driven by falling deployment costs and spread of low-carbon policies in the wake of the Paris Agreement.
The report, which came at the same time as oil prices dipped below US$30 a barrel for the first time since 2004, predicted low oil prices would “stick around” and coal and gas prices would also struggle.
But it argues that growing price competition from fossil fuels will not stop renewable energy hitting an “inflection point”.
“Twelve months ago we predicted that 2015 would be a year of “cheaper and greener” energy, characterised by lower fossil fuel prices and fast growth in the use of renewable energy.
“That turned out to be correct, and in 2016 we expect the trend to continue. Indeed, we believe that global energy markets are now at an inflection point.”
Moreover, the EIU added its voice to the growing rank of analysts who predict renewable energy would become one of the world’s dominant sources of energy in the coming years.
“Although attractively cheap oil, natural gas and coal are here for the short- to medium-term, the shift towards lower-carbon energy sources will prove far longer-lasting.”