Solar power blossomed faster than for any other fuel for the first time in 2016, the International Energy Agency said in a report suggesting the technology will dominate renewables in the years ahead.
The predicted growth in renewable power capacity is now 12 per cent higher than it was in last year's prediction.
Last year, new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity around the world grew by 50 per cent, reaching over 74 gigawatts (GW), with China accounting for nearly half of this expansion.
Solar energy was the fastest-growing source of electric power past year, a new report said on Wednesday, amid the "birth of a new era" for the reneweable energy sector.
Although coal would remain the largest source of electricity generation in 2022, renewables would close the generation gap with coal by half, the IEA said.
India is expected to more than double its current renewables capacity by 2022, IEA said.
The US is the second largest market for renewables, but there is uncertainty in the future over federal tax reforms, worldwide trade and energy policy, the report said. China is already shifting away from previous tariff arrangements and support for PV is expected to continue at new installation highs. The IEA's report finds that China has in fact, already passed that goal in terms total solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity.
China's push towards solar energy stems from the country's notoriously poor air quality, and in the country's 13th five-year plan, it announced an intention to increase the share of non-fossil energy to 15% by 2020.
The International Energy Agency's annual outlook for renewable energy, released Wednesday, projects Canada's renewable capacity to grow by nine gigawatts between 2017 and 2022, down from last year's report that projected capacity would grow by 13GW.
The IEA also recognised PV growth in 2016 also delivered record-low auction prices for electricity generation, which fell as low as 3 cents per kwh (or kilowatt hour), with emerging markets such as the UAE, Mexico and Chile becoming low price leaders.
The IEA report comes as Ottawa aims to drastically cut carbon emissions, largely by expanding renewable energy capacity.
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