Solar Is the Fastest-Growing Energy, Says Top Fossil Fuel Majorby
Solar generation grew by a third in 2015, while coal use fell
Renewables now accounts for 2.8% of world energy mix
The world’s growing fleet of solar panels generated a third more electricity in 2015 than a year earlier, making power captured from the sun the world’s fastest growing source of energy, according to BP Plc.
Solar generation grew 33 percent, with China overtaking the U.S. and Germany as world leader in 2015, BP said in its 65th annual statistical review into world energy published on Wednesday. The London-based oil company exited from solar in 2011 after 40 years in the business.
“Sharp cost reductions have gone hand-in-hand with rapid growth in renewable energy. Solar power production has increased more than 60-fold in 10 years, doubling capacity every 20 months,” said Spencer Dale, BP chief economist, in a speech that also predicted continued falls in the costs of solar.
The growth in renewables means the industry now accounts for 2.8 percent of global energy use, up from 0.8 percent a decade ago, said BP. In total, renewables added 213 terawatt-hours of wind, solar and biofuel capacity last year, which was about the same as the total increase in global power generation, said BP.
Wind still remains the largest source of renewable power generation and grew by 17 percent in 2015, according to BP. Biofuel production grew 0.9 percent, below the 14 percent 10-year average, the oil major said. Coal saw its biggest drop in demand on record in 2015.
Coupled with sluggish global demand for power, the growth rate of renewable power meant carbon emissions from the energy sector stalled last year, increasing just 0.1 percent.