BATHINDA: Asian countries now make up five of the top ten solar-powered economies after a decade of growth and expanding their solar capacity. A decade ago European countries dominated the top of the solar ranking.
The new analysis has been made by electricity think tank Ember, which looked at how total solar power capacity has changed over the last 10 years in countries across the world. Ember is an independent climate and energy think tank that produces cutting-edge research and high impact, policies that aim to accelerate the global transition from coal to clean electricity.
The analysis highlights how much solar capacity has changed over the last 11 years, with countries such as China, India, Viet Nam and South Korea able to slide into the top 10 globally. In 2010, India ranked 22nd globally while Viet Nam ranked 196th.
China’s 307 gigawatts of solar is already the biggest total installed capacity in the world. China is set to double its record-setting rate of new solar development in 2022, according to state media, with the goal of installing 108 gigawatts of solar power this year.
“Asia’s solar growth has been under the radar. The region actually has been doing quite well, with 5 countries now joining the world’s top 10,” says Achmed Edianto, Ember’s Asia electricity analyst.
According to IRENA, global solar capacity amounted to 849 GW in 2021, 19% higher than the previous year. As a result, the world generated 3.7% of its electricity from solar in 2021, with the average across Asia just under 3%.
Within the region, China and India have seen incredible growth of their respective solar industries, leading to significant shifts in how much electricity is being generated by solar power each year. China’s solar share has increased from 0.02% in 2010 to 3.89% in 2021, while India has increased its share of solar from 0.01% to over 4% in 2021.
While Japan remained in 4th place globally, its solar capacity increased from 3.62GW in 2010 to 74.19GW in 2021. As a result, solar generated close to 10% of Japan’s electricity production in 2021. In 2010, solar accounted for only 0.3% of its energy mix.
According to both the IPCC and the IEA, to keep climate change below 1.5 degrees of warming, Asian countries should aim to power at least 40% of their electricity grids from wind and solar by 2030. This will require both tailored national policy innovation and investment, but also collective economic and technological cooperation on a grand scale.
“If Asia’s rapidly developing economies are able to scale up their solar industries and collectively confront the challenges of the energy transition, they will be at the forefront of securing the jobs, industries and opportunities of a renewable future”, said Achmed Edianto.