The International Energy Agency (IEA) said it is “significantly increasing” its five-year growth forecast for renewables.
That’s due to of strong policy support in key countries – US, China, India and Mexico – and sharp cost reductions.
The IEA now sees renewables growing 13% more between 2015 and 2021 and forecasts costs to fall – solar by a quarter and onshore wind by 15%.
Last year, renewable energy surpassed coal to become the largest installed power capacity in the world, reaching a record 153GW – 15% more than the previous year.
Most of the gains were driven by record level of wind and solar additions – 66GW and 49GW respectively.
Around half a million solar panels were said to have been installed every day globally last year. China, which accounted for around half of the wind additions and 40% of all renewable capacity increases, installed two wind turbines every hour, according to the IEA.
It expects renewables to remain the fastest growing source of power generation in the next five years, with their share increasing to 28% in 2021 – exceeding 7,600TWh which is equivalent to the total generation of the US and the EU.
However the IEA adds “policy uncertainty persists in too many countries”, which is slowing the pace of investments and suggests the renewable heat and transport sectors need “significantly stronger policy efforts”.
Executive Director Fatih Birol said: “We are witnessing a transformation of global power markets led by renewables and,as is the case with other fields, the centre of gravity for renewable growth is moving to emerging markets.
“However, even these higher expectations remain modest compared with the huge untapped potential of renewables. The IEA will be working with governments around the world to maximise the deployment of renewables in coming years.”
Singapore recently announced it has joined the IEA as an association country.