News, Solar, Utility Scale

Global utility-scale solar installations set new record in 2019

Egypt's Ben Ban solar plant is the largest in the world with 1.5 GW of capacity.

Installations of large-scale solar plants dipped in 2017-2018 but returned to growth in 2019, with a record-setting 45-GW of installed capacity and bringing cumulative installed capacity to more than 220-GW, according to figures from Wiki-Solar.

Philip Wolfe, founder of Wiki-solar noted that the growth was “largely thanks to emerging markets.” He added that the top 3 countries for cumulative installed capacity — China, the US, and India — remain far of the rest of the pack, “but, with China slowing, the chasing ‘peloton’ is changing,” he said.

Top countries with more than 1-GW of cumulative installed utility-scale solar capacity:

Japan has leap-frogged Germany into fifth place. Last year’s highest climber was Vietnam – up 38 places to 11th in the table of cumulative installed capacity – thanks to 3.4 GW of new installations, making it the world #4 for 2019. More change is expected in 2020 with the UK likely to drop several places, as Spain and Australia also accelerate. South and Central America look increasingly prominent with Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Argentina leading the charge, said Wolfe. 

Other climbers to watch are Middle Eastern countries: the UAE, which is home to one of the world’s largest plants, the 1.1-GW Sweihan plant, which was completed last year as well as and Egypt’s 1.5-GW Benban Solar Park. While in Europe, the Netherlands is expected to pass the 1-GW milestone this year.