World installs a record 168 GW of solar power in 2021, enters solar Terawatt age

El mundo instala un récord de 168 GW de energía solar en 2021 y entra en la era de los teravatios solares

ESolarPower Europe’s flagship Global Market Outlook for Solar Power finds that, for the 9th consecutive year, global solar power has broken its annual installation record with 168 GW of new solar PV capacity in 2021. In 2022, global solar is expected to continue the decade-long record-breaking streak, installing more than 200 GW of solar for the first time.

The latest edition of the annual report reveals that worldwide, solar power is entering a new era of Terawatt solar and showes that despite an unprecedented pandemic, global solar capacity doubled in 3 years from 2018, bringing the world’s solar fleet to one Terawatt capacity in April 2022.

The global solar market is growing exponentially. It took around a decade for world-wide solar capacity to reach 1 TW, from 100 GW in 2012. In just 3 years, SolarPower Europe predicts global solar to more than double to 2.3 TW in 2025. 2.3 TW represents twice the gross electricity production of France and Germany combined.

Solar remains the fastest growing renewable energy, representing over half of the 302 GW of renewable capacity installed internationally in 2021. With 168 GW of additions, solar installed over 70 GW more than the next greatest installer – wind – and more than all non-solar renewables combined.

European influence

The Europe region* continued its positive solar trajectory, achieving 31.8 GW of additional solar capacity – representing 33% growth and notably only a 0.1 GW difference to our 2021 Global Market Outlook projections. The impact of the Russian war on Ukraine, and the accompanying energy security challenges, alongside EU climate goals, are driving the continent’s renewable transition – with 25 of 27 EU member states set to install more solar in 2022 than 2021.

Asia Pacific concedes market share

With a 14% annual growth rate and an all-time high of 54.9 GW of new solar, China kept its market leadership in 2021, adding twice as much solar power capacity than the second-largest market, the United States. The United States nonetheless saw impressive growth, with 42% more additional solar in 2021 than 2020. India reclaimed it’s third position with 14.2 GW of solar installations.

Though the Asia-Pacific region retained the majority global market share with 56% of solar installations, from 2020 the region conceded 6 percentage points of market share to the Americas and Europe, who represent 22% and 19% respectively.

Latin American potential

Written in collaboration with the Global Solar Council, and the Brazilian solar association ABSOLAR, this year’s edition of the Global Market Outlook pays particular attention to Latin America, and its bright promise for solar power. 2021 saw the region increase its annual solar installations by 44%, with 9.6 GW new solar capacity. Projections for 2026 suggest that by then, the region could be growing by up to 30.8 GW per year. Analysis finds that Latin America’s solar leader, Brazil, is set to become one of the top five global markets in the next five years, reaching 54 GW total solar capacity by 2026.