Solar power capacity rockets across developing nations

1st December 2017

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Danielle Arthur

Cheap equipment and innovative applications are fuelling a boom in the amount of solar power capacity being installed in developing countries across the world.

Research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows there was a 54% increase in the amount of capacity installed in emerging market nations last year, with 34 gigawatts (GW) added.

This is vastly more than the 3GW that went online in 2011, with China and India leading last year’s growth by adding 27GW and 4.2GW respectively – expanding energy access for millions.

In addition, Brazil, Chile, Jordan, Mexico and Pakistan, along with nine other countries, all saw their solar power capacity double or more last year.

“The massive drop in photovoltaic module prices we’ve seen over the last several years continues to reverberate through developing countries,” BNEF head of Americas, Ethan Zindler, said.

The research involved a quantitative assessment of clean energy market conditions in 71 non-OECD countries, accounting for 32.5% of global GDP and 72.4% of the population.

Despite an increase in installed solar capacity, the research shows that new clean energy investment fell by from $151.6bn (£112.6bn) in 2015 to $111.4bn last year, with China accounting for three-quarters of the decline.

However, China is still the world’s single largest market for clean energy development after overtaking the US in recent years, with the country becoming increasingly concerned about its air pollution problem.

Of the nations studied, 76% have established domestic CO2 containment goals, 67% have introduced feed-in tariffs or auctions to support clean energy projects, but just 18% have set domestic emissions reduction policies.

It was also found that the combination of solar power and smart technology is spreading beyond homes into farms, with the number of solar irrigation pumps installed in India reaching 128,000 in May – up from just 12,000 in April 2014.

“Solar power is creating opportunities ranging from multi-million dollar projects that serve the grid, to small-scale installations that enable farmers to boost their yields through better irrigation and to connect to the internet,” Zindler added.


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