World reaches 1,000 GW of wind and solar

Bloomberg NEF data indicate that the world has attained the landmark figure of 1 TW of wind and solar generation capacity installed, and indicates that the second terawatt of wind and solar will arrive by mid-2023 and cost 46% less than the first.

New output from the BNEF database shows that there were 1,013 GW of wind and solar PV generating capacity installed worldwide as of June 30, 2018. The 1 TW milestone would have been passed sometime just before this date. The total is finely balanced between wind (54%) and solar (46%).

Looking back on the first terawatt of wind and solar reveals just how far these two sectors have come. Total installed capacity has grown 65-fold since the year 2000, and more than quadrupled since 2010.

Even more striking is the growth of solar PV alone. As recently as 2007, there was just 8GW of PV capacity installed, compared with 89 GW of wind. Since then, PV has grown from just 8% of total installed wind and solar capacity, to 46%. In the process, PV installations grew 57-fold, with utility-scale PV overtaking small-scale PV in 2014. Wind still represents the majority of the installed base at 54%, but is likely to relinquish this lead soon.

Investment

Bloomberg NEF estimates that the first 1 TW of wind and solar required approximately $2.3 trillion of capital expenditure to deploy. The second terawatt will cost significantly less than the first. Based on estimates from New Energy Outlook 2018, capital expenditures on wind and solar generation will total about $1.23 trillion from 2018 to 2022 inclusive.

What about other renewables?

Bloomberg NEF has singled out wind and solar in this piece because they are the fastest-growing sources of power generation and have just recently achieved the 1 TW mark. If we were to include all other renewables, including hydropower, the total would already exceed 2 TW, with the 1 TW mark attained about a decade ago. Most of the growth in the intervening period can be attributed to wind and solar.

Source: Bloomberg NEF