The solar PV market continued to break records in 2021, with new installations estimated to total 175 gigawatts in 2021, 36 GW more than in 2020, according to the Renewables Global Status Report. 2022”, published by the United Nations Environment Programme.
According to the report, this figure is the largest annual increase in capacity ever recorded. This brings the world’s cumulative solar photovoltaic capacity to 942 Gigawatts.
Specialists believe that despite disruptions in the solar energy value chain mainly due to sharp increases in raw material and shipping costs, the market has continued its steady growth.
Statistics show that at the end of 2021, at least seven countries had sufficient installed capacity to meet at least 10% of their electricity demand from solar photovoltaic energy, compared to only two countries in 2020. At least 18 countries had enough installed solar PV capacity to meet 5% of their electricity demand, compared to 15 countries in 2020, the report continues.
In this momentum, some experts note, Africa and the Middle East have added about 5.2 GW of capacity in 2021, an increase of 3%, for a total of 28 GW.
It should be noted that off-grid installations have grown rapidly. And rooftop photovoltaics, outside of any regulatory system, has progressed rapidly in many countries.
The report notes, however, that despite its high potential, the area remains the one where the number of countries having reached the objective of covering 5% of their electricity demand with installed photovoltaics is the lowest, at the end of 2021.
Furthermore, for the ninth consecutive year, Asia led all other regions in new solar PV installations, accounting for 52% of global capacity added in 2021. It was followed by the Americas (21%) which again exceeded Europe (17%).