- More than 80 GW of solar capacity will be deployed this year around the globe, according to new analysis from GTM Research, a rapid ramp up that will double installations just three years ago.
- Greentech Media, reporting on the data, said that by the end of 2017 global solar and nuclear capacity could be roughly equal. By actual generation, however, nuclear energy will still be the easy leader.
- While the report predicts substantial growth in solar capacity, thus far it is a minor contributor to the United States' electricity use — while last year, nuclear supplied almost 20%.
GTM Research expects solar additions to grow about 6% to 8% per year through 2019, largely led by China's interest in renewable energy. "Chinese demand in 2017 will account for 39% of the global market," the firm believes.
By 2022, the report indicates solar capacity around the world will top 850 GW, more than double existing nuclear capacity. But capacity doesn't equal generation, and solar generates less than 2% of the world's energy.
But renewables are on the rise--and if you count in hydropower, the competition is a bit closer.
In July, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said output from United States renewable generation exceeded nuclear in March and April—something not seen since 1984. But the agency noted the shift was highly seasonal, and not likely to continue this year.
Record generation from wind and solar, as well as strong precipitation in the West which resulted in a rise in hydroelectricity, fueled the surge. At the same time, nuclear plants typically undergo refueling and maintenance, resulting in lower output.
But gas and coal still reign supreme. For this summer, EIA estimated gas' share of U.S. generation would be about 34%, and coal's about 32%.