Historically, the IEA has significantly underestimated growth in renewables, notably solar PV and its newly renamed report "Renewables 2017" (formerly titled Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report) is an attempt to redress fundamental failings over the last decade of forecasts.
India's move to address the financial health of its power utilities and tackle grid-integration issues drive a more optimistic forecast, the Paris-based agency said in its latest report Renewables2017.
Last year, new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity around the world grew by 50 per cent, reaching over 74 gigawatts (GW), with China accounting for nearly half of this expansion.
Solar PV capacity grew by 50 per cent to reach more than 74 GW past year and it was the first time solar PV additions rose faster than any other fuel, surpassing the net growth in coal.
The IEA said coal will still be the largest source of electricity generation in 2022, though "renewables close the generation gap with coal by half in just five years". "By 2022, renewable electricity capacity should increase by 43 per cent", the report said. Total solar PV capacity by then would exceed the combined total power capacities of India and Japan today, the IEA said.
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This higher forecast is because of increase in predictions of China and India's solar PV additions. By 2022, renewables would account for 30 per cent of power generation, up from 24 per cent in 2016. By 2022, clean energy will account for a third of power generation at 8,000 terawatt hours, or enough to meet the current electricity demands from China, India, and Germany combined.
"The star is really becoming solar PV, which becomes the leader in renewable growth", said Frankl.
In line with its recent determination to end up a victor in the renewable energy market, China led the way on building solar capacity.
The US is to be the second-largest growth market for renewables despite uncertainties about the policy.
The rise in solar is mainly driven by developments in China, although there are other factors worldwide that help to explain its growth.
Prices for wind and solar power fell previous year to record lows in countries including India, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Chile, making the technologies increasingly comparable with or cheaper than energy from new gas or coal power stations.