Utility-scale solar capacity hits 45GW worldwide, Australia still outside top 20 | RenewEconomy

Utility-scale solar capacity hits 45GW worldwide, Australia still outside top 20

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2015 set to be another record year for big solar, with 8GW added so far. Australia, meanwhile, overtakes Portugal to claim 24th spot.

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Utility-scale solar PV reached a total global generating capacity of 45GW at the half-way mark of 2015 – more than double the amount at the end of 2013 – according to the latest figures from Wiki-Solar.org, with a total of 8GW commissioned so far in what looks like being another record-breaking year.

The report, released on Tuesday, finds big solar installations “fairly evenly split” between the three leading continents – Asia, Europe and North America – but says the other three are also starting to feature.

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As you can see in the pie chart below, Australia is still a fairly small player in the global big solar stake, but according to Wiki-Solar founder, Philip Wolfe, has moved up the rankings slightly thanks to the 102MW Nyngan solar project in NSW. Australia now comes in at number 24 in the global rankings, accounting for around 130MW of the 200MW of installed capacity credited to the Australasia-Oceania region.

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This is certainly an improvement on its ranking of 34th in January 2014, when it had a tiny 10MW of installed utility scale capacity – less, at the time, than the small African nation of Mauritania. At least now, it has overtaken Portugal.

China – which now has in excess of 10GW of installed utility-scale solar – and the UK are the countries with the greatest growth for the year, so far. The UK broke into the top three with 2GW of new capacity installed in the first quarter of 2015, says the report.

All up, around three-quarters of the total capacity of utility-scale PV power plants was installed in the top six countries at the end of June 2015.

But Wolfe notes that big solar developments in countries further down the top 10 list are also interesting, with Japan, France and Canada all continuing to build capacity.

“It looks to be only a matter of time before they too overtake Spain,” he said.

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