Global Energy Monitor

San Francisco, CA – According to recently updated estimates from Global Energy Monitor’s Wind and Solar Power Trackers, current and planned renewable capacity is just large enough to offset current operating coal capacity by 2030. By then, 3,242 GW of wind and solar power are projected to be installed globally, compared to the current global operating coal fleet of 2,067 GW – a whopping 44% difference.

Still, even this growth in renewables is slower than the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2030 Net Zero scenario goal:

  • With the construction of all potential solar capacity, the large-scale (>20 MW) global solar fleet would fall short by 3,785 GW and only be able to reach 26% of the IEA’s 2030 target. 
  • Assuming installations of smaller-scale solar mirror the growth GEM sees in large-scale solar, we estimate global solar will still be over 1,000 GW shy of the 2030 Net Zero goal.
  • Prospective global wind projects fare better by supplying 62% of the target with projects slated to come online before 2030 but still miss the objective by 1,161 GW.

If the world is to reach its Net Zero goals with a hope of keeping global temperature increases below 1.5C, utility-scale renewables are clearly not going to cut it. Distributed solar must take center stage.

Kasandra O’Malia, Project Manager for the Global Solar Power Tracker

Newly documented data for the Global Solar Power Tracker shows China’s current and emerging role in the renewables build out:

  • With 176 GW, China accounts for half of the world’s currently operating, large-scale (>20 MW) solar (366 GW).
  • Nearly equal to the total global operating capacity (366 GW), China’s large-scale (>20 MW) build out, with a prospective capacity of 309 GW, represents about a third of the world’s planned solar build out at this scale (979 GW).

Across the world, the top 10 owners of large-scale solar control about 10% of the global market while the top 10 owners of large-scale wind control about 15% of the global market.

While the renewable energy forecast is tremendously promising and no environmental metric will ever favor coal over wind or solar, we must continue to assess the environmental and social impacts of large-scale renewable projects.

Shradhey Prasad, Project Manager for the Global Wind Power Tracker


Kasandra O’Malia Project Manager, Global Solar Power Tracker

Mobile: +1 303-802-7611

Email: [email protected]

Shradhey Prasad Project Manager, Global Wind Power Tracker

Mobile: +1 510-401-7795 

Email: [email protected]