Renewable electricity growth, Analysis and forecasts to 2026

The world’s capacity to generate electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro is on track to set a new record in 2021, with installations expected to keep accelerating in the following years, according to our new annual market report. This impressive growth comes even as the cost of producing solar panels and wind turbines has been lifted by rising commodity and transport prices.

By 2026, global renewable electricity capacity is forecast to rise more than 60% from 2020 levels, reaching the equivalent of the current total global power capacity of fossil fuels and nuclear combined, our new report says. Renewables are set to account for almost 95% of the increase in global power capacity through 2026, with solar PV alone providing more than half of the growth.

China is expected to remain the global leader in the volume of renewable capacity additions over the next five years, with India set to enjoy the fastest rate of growth. Deployments are also expected to speed up in the United States and the European Union, with these four markets accounting for 80% of capacity expansions worldwide. However, even faster global growth – in renewable electricity, but also other areas such as biofuels and renewable heat – would be needed in a pathway to net zero emissions by mid-century. To better track the development of renewable technologies, we’ve introduced our online Renewables Data Explorer, as well as the Residential Heat Economics Calculator, which explores and compares the economics of different residential heating systems.

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