Record solar growth continued through 2017

Eight consecutive years of record solar growth continued in 2017, with total global installed capacity reached 143GW by the end of the year

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By Jonny Bairstow

More than 40GW of utility-scale solar energy was installed around the world in 2017, continuing a run of eight years of record growth in a row.

That’s according to solar energy database Wiki-Solar, which says global installed capacity reached 143GW by the end of the year, having only broken the 100GW barrier less than 12 months earlier.

It said facilities using photovoltaic panels account for around 96% of total capacity, with 6GW of concentrated solar power (CSP) making up the remainder.

Around 0.5GW of CSP was commissioned and installed in 2017.

Asia dominated new large-scale solar installations, led by rapid growth in China and India.

While progress accelerated in both South America and Africa, it remained largely unchanged in North America and declined in Europe for the second year in a row.

Wiki-Solar expects the rate of European installations to continue falling – the UK currently has 887 plants totalling 6.7GW of power, compared to the massive 54GW produced by China’s 1,173 facilities.

Wiki-Solar founder Philip Wolfe said: “These figures scotch any fear that the growth of utility-scale solar might be throttled by declining incentives.

“As photovoltaics becomes the low cost power source in more and more places, long term growth now looks assured.”