Global Solar Power Soars from 256 TWh in 2015 to 1631 TWh in 2023, Marking Fastest Growth in Global Electricity Mix … – SolarQuarter

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Representational image. Credit: Canva

In its fifth annual Global Electricity Review, Ember provides a comprehensive analysis of the evolving electricity landscape, with data from 215 countries including the latest figures for 2023 from 80 countries, covering 92% of global electricity demand. The report underscores a significant milestone in solar energy’s contribution to the global electricity mix, showcasing its robust growth and increasing importance in the journey toward net zero emissions.


According to the report, global solar power generation has experienced unprecedented growth, increasing from a mere 1 TWh in 2000 to 1,631 TWh in 2023. This surge has marked solar energy as the fastest-growing power source for the nineteenth consecutive year, with its share in the global electricity mix expanding from just 1.1% in 2015 to 5.5% in 2023. Impressively, solar generation in 2023 was over six times greater than in 2015, which saw 256 TWh generated.


This rapid expansion is largely attributed to the significant reduction in solar technology costs, which plummeted by 87% from 2010 to 2020. The increased affordability has facilitated the swift deployment of solar capacity worldwide.


The growth of solar power is not uniform across the globe. China, the United States, and Japan have notably increased their solar capacities. China’s solar share in 2023 stood at 6.2% of its total electricity generation, a substantial rise from just 0.7% in 2015. The United States saw its solar share increase from 1% to 5.6%, and Japan from 3.4% to an impressive 11% over the same period.

Latin America also reported significant growth, with Brazil’s solar generation jumping from nearly negligible amounts in 2015 to 7.3% of its total generation in 2023. Chile saw a dramatic increase from 1.9% in 2015 to 20% in 2023. Europe’s numbers were equally striking, with Spain’s solar share climbing from 5% to 17%, and Germany’s from 6% to 12% during the same timeframe.

Despite these advances, the Middle East and Africa are lagging in solar deployment. However, some countries like South Africa and the United Arab Emirates have shown promising increases from very low bases.

Ember’s report also outlines the ambitious goals set by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for solar energy. Under the IEA Net Zero Emissions scenario, global solar generation needs to grow more than fivefold by 2030 to reach 8,316 TWh, which would increase solar’s share of global electricity generation to 22%. Beyond 2030, solar is expected to constitute 43% of all electricity generation by 2050.

Despite a slight dip in growth rate to 23% in 2023 from an average of 26% since 2015, Ember explains that this is not indicative of a structural slowdown. To achieve the IEA’s goals, the solar sector must maintain an average annual growth rate of 26% from now until 2030. This ambitious target requires significant yearly increases in solar generation capacity, reaching over 1,000 TWh annually by the end of the decade compared to the 314 TWh added in 2023.

Overall, the report from Ember illustrates the critical role solar energy plays in the global transition towards cleaner energy sources and underscores the need for sustained investment and policy support to meet future targets and mitigate climate change.

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