“Super-competitive” pricing means that solar “can now compete with most fossil and nuclear sources of energy,” the International Energy Agency concludes in its review of global photovoltaic markets in 2015.
The IEA reports 25 GW of solar installations last year, a 25% increase over 2014, with China, Japan, and the United States accounting for more than half of the activity.
While solar is only expected to supply 1.3% of global electricity demand this year, total capacity has increased tenfold since 2009. On that basis, the IEA concludes that solar “could contribute significantly to decarbonizing the electricity mix of the planet, sooner than expected and at a reasonable cost.”
In the U.S., meanwhile, the wind industry reported that it installed 8,598 MW of new capacity in 2015, a 77% increase over 2014 and the biggest capacity growth of any electricity source.
“Xcel Energy was the utility with the most wind on its system, with 6,545 MW, and Berkshire Hathaway Energy owned the most wind, 4,375 MW,” Utility Dive reports. “The U.S. wind industry has attracted US$128 billion in project investment over the last 10 years, led by more than $32.7 billion in Texas.”