Solar power a clear leader, IEA report finds

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Solar capacity increased by 50% past year, with China accounting for nearly half of the global expansion.

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".

"Our expectation is that (growth in) renewable electricity generation in the next five years will be higher than electricity generation from coal and natural gas times two", IEA executive director Fatih Birol told journalists.

Renewable growth in the European Union over the forecast period is 40% lower compared with the previous five-year period.

The IEA report noted that India's growth in renewable energy generation could surpass the EU's by 2022, while the U.S. is expected to remain second largest renewables growth market, despite policy uncertainty. By the end of 2016, China had increased its solar PV capacity by almost 800 times, with more than 77 gigawatts now installed. Levin said an annual report on the expected cost of new generating facilities found that, in the United States today, it cost about $32 per megawatt hour to build new wind power capacity.

Earlier this year, auctions yielded the lowest solar power tariff of Rs 2.44 per unit.

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According to the provisions of scheme, an additional 100 MW capacity can be allotted to central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) willing to undertake development of inter-state transmission system (ISTS) connected wind power projects at the lowest bid tariff of Rs2.64/kWh, for which they have to submit their proposal within 30 days from the declaration of results of the e-reverse auction.

Solar milestone: In 2016, additions of solar photovoltaic capacity grew by 50 percent, faster than any other kind of fuel for the first time, with China leading the way.

The growth in the renewables market has been quite startling, with China accounting for large proportion of that growth.

Despite strongly rising sales, the share of EVs remains limited, and biofuels are still expected to represent over 90% of total renewable energy consumption in road transport by 2022, the report said.

The contrasting fortunes of the three largest solar markets - Japan being edged from the top table by India this year - highlight how the solar industry ebbs and flows.

Looking ahead, the IEA said that China, India and the US would account for two-thirds of worldwide renewable expansion by 2022. However Frankl believes that the vastly reduced cost of solar and wind will likely limit the impact wrought by President Trump.

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