- The world built over 10 gigawatts of utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2014, breaking the previous record for annual growth for the fifth consecutive year, according to preliminary numbers from Wiki-Solar.
- Africa and South America joined North America, Asia, and Europe in large scale additions, with South Africa leading Africa and Chile leading South America. Asia, led by new levels of growth in Japan and continued expansion in China and India, may have overtaken North America as the continent with the most solar.
- The U.S. was the world’s biggest builder of utility-scale PV solar in 2014, according to the report. Europe, led by the UK and France, was the continent with the third biggest growth. Oceania is the only continent not showing significant growth, ReNews said, primarily because of slowing in Australia caused by policy reversals.
Wiki-Solar will reportedly have final 2014 numbers on utility-scale PV, defined as projects 4 megawatts and bigger, in March.
The world now has a cumulative installed utility-scale PV solar capacity of over 30.3 gigawatts. The five countries with the biggest cumulative installed capacities (in megawatts) are the U.S. (7,083.8), China (6,518.3), Germany (3,468.0), India (2,203.2), and the United Kingdom (1,948.2).
The U.S. brought Exelon’s 250 megawatt Antelope Valley PV project, NRG’s 290 megawatt Agua Caliente PV project, and MidAmerican’s 550 megawatt Topaz PV project online in 2014. It also brought online the BrightSource/NRG 392 megawatt Ivanpah concentrating solar power plant, Abengoa’s 250 megawatt Mojave CSP plant, and NextEra’s 250 megawatt Genesis CSP project during the year.
U.S. growth over the next 2 years is expected to be driven by a push to get projects into service in time to qualify for the 30% federal investment tax credit before it drops to 10% after December 31, 2016.