|7 April 2016|

The decline in technology costs contributed to a record year for renewable energy generation in 2015, according to new statistics.

Data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reveals that renewable generation capacity increased by 152 gigawatts (GW) or 8.3% during 2015, the highest annual growth rate on record. IRENA’s Renewable Capacity Statistics 2016 finds that as of the end of 2015, 1,985 GW of renewable generation capacity existed globally.

“Renewable energy deployment continues to surge in markets around the globe, even in an era of low oil and gas prices. Falling costs for renewable energy technologies, and a host of economic, social and environmental drivers are favouring renewables over conventional power sources,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “This impressive growth, coupled with a record $286 billion invested in renewables in 2015, sends a strong signal to investors and policymakers that renewable energy is now the preferred option for new power generation capacity around the world.”

Wind and solar made record gains last year thanks in a large part to a continued decline in technology costs. Wind power grew 63 GW (17%) driven by declines in onshore turbine prices of up to 45% since 2010. Solar capacity increased 47 GW (37%) thanks to price drops of up to 80% for solar photovoltaic modules in the same time period. Hydropower capacity increased by 35 GW (3%), while both bioenergy and geothermal energy capacity increased 5% each (5 GW and 1 GW respectively).