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The global photovoltaic generating base sets new records

More solar generating capacity was installed in 2016 than in any previous year, and growth in global photovoltaic generating capacity is outstripping all forecasts: that’s what the annual Global Market Outlook published by SolarPower* Europe reveals. ENGIE is committed to ensuring that solar power can achieve its full potential throughout the world.

Global solar power generating capacity reached around 300 gigawatts (GW) in 2016. It is likely that by the end of this year, an additional 100 GW will have been added, according to SolarPower Europe, which had initially forecast a figure of 80 MW.

A trend driven by Chinese investment and falling generating costs

2016 saw the installation of 76.6 gigawatts (GW) of solar generating capacityworldwide. And it seems likely that the figure for 2017 will be 30% higher.

It is likely that China will account for more than half of all the new capacity installed this year (the country had already commissioned 42 GW of new capacity by the end of Quarter 3). It is also expected that Europe will have installed an additional 7.5 GW of capacity by the end of this year, representing a 10% increase on the 2016 total.

The expansion of solar power is being fueled by falling generating costs: thanks to technological progress and favorable funding conditions, this form of energy generation is becoming highly competitive, to the point where solar power on the industrial scale is now a more attractive market than coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

Encouraging outlook

According to the report published by SolarPower Europe, installed solar power generating capacity will continue to increase and exceed 400 GW worldwide next year, 500 GW in 2019, 600 in 2020 and 700 in 2021**. The only downside is that demand could grow even faster than generating capacity, to reach 1 terawatt by 2021**.

ENGIE, the driving force behind the solar power industry

That’s precisely the goal of the Terrawatt Initiative, a global non-profit organization initiated by ENGIE to coincide with the COP21 climate conference: to create 1 terawatt of additional solar generating capacity between now and 2030 by enabling all stakeholders – governments, power generators, equipment manufacturers, investors, NGOs and others – to promote the generation and supply of solar power at an affordable cost right around the world.

The ENGIE Group has made solar power a cornerstone of its commitment to energy from renewable sources.

For the benefit of its customers, ENGIE is focusing on the development of Electricity self-consumption and offers not only photovoltaic generating solutions for domestic consumers, business users and local authorities in France, Belgium and Australia.

In terms of generation, the Group invests in high-capacity projects – in China, India, Chile, Mexico and, of course, Europe –, in innovative projects, such as the Kathu concentrating solar power plant in South Africa, and also in local microgrids fed by photovoltaic solar panels for projects like the one in Ketumbeine village in Tanzania. The aim of these microgrids is to decentralize power generation and bring it as close as possible to the point of consumption, and to offer energy access solutions to off-grid communities. To achieve this goal, the Group has recently entered into partnership with Fenix, which specializes in domestic solar systems for African consumers.

* Source : « Global Market Solar Demand to Reach 100GW in 2017 », SolarPower Europe.

** Source : « Global Market Outlook for Solar Power/2017-2021 », SolarPower Europe.  

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