Global Energy Monitor’s Global Solar Power Tracker uses a two-level system for organizing information, consisting of both a database and wiki pages with further information. The database tracks individual solar farm phases and includes information such as project owner, status, and location. A wiki page for each solar farm is created within the Global Energy Monitor wiki. The database and wiki pages are updated annually.
The Global Solar Power Tracker includes photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal electricity generating projects. Solar projects for captive industry, including hydrogen production, are tracked. The Global Solar Power Tracker aims to comprehensively track all large utility-scale solar project phases with capacities greater than 20 MW, except for Arabic-speaking countries where the coverage is for all project phases larger than 10 MW. The Tracker also includes some smaller projects down to 1 MW. These are categorized as medium utility-scale, and are published in a separate tab in the downloadable dataset. Records for projects smaller than 1 MW in national sources are aggregated and listed under the Below Threshold tab in the dataset.
Announced: Proposed projects that have been described in corporate or government plans or media releases but have not yet taken concrete steps such as applying for permits.
Pre-construction: Projects that are actively moving forward in seeking governmental approvals, land rights, or financing.
Construction: Site preparation and equipment installation are underway.
Operating: The project has been formally commissioned; commercial operation has begun.
Shelved: Suspension of operation has been announced, or no progress has been observed for at least two years.
Cancelled: A cancellation announcement has been made, or no progress has been observed for at least four years.
Retired: The project has been decommissioned.
Mothballed: The project is disused, but not dismantled.
Photovoltaic (PV): Photovoltaic technology uses the photoelectric effect to directly convert sunlight into electricity. Large-scale PV projects consist of thousands of solar panels, themselves composed of tens of individual solar cells, that are wired together and often converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) and fed to the electricity grid.
Solar Thermal: Solar Thermal technology uses Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) or any technology that uses sunlight to generate heat. To be included in the tracker, that heat must then be used to generate electricity, usually by spinning a turbine. Such technologies include solar towers, solar troughs, solar chimneys, and fresnel reflectors.
The Global Solar Power Tracker data set draws on various public data sources, including:
- Government data on individual power solar farms (such as India Central Electricity Authority’s “Plant Wise Details of All India Renewable Energy Projects” and the U.S. EIA 860 Electric Generator Inventory), country energy and resource plans, and government websites tracking solar farm permits and applications;
- Reports by power companies (both state-owned and private);
- News and media reports;
- Local non-governmental organizations tracking solar farms or permits.
A partial list of data sources can be found here.
Global Energy Monitor researchers perform data validation by comparing our dataset against proprietary and public data such as S&P Global’s World Energy Power Plant database, the World Resource Institute’s Global Power Plant Database, Wiki-Solar, CSP Guru, as well as various company and government sources.
Large utility-scale research process
Global Energy Monitor researchers systematically and comprehensively search for and include all solar installations meeting threshold criteria. Open-sourced data sources are exhaustively searched to find all available information for each individual project.
Medium utility-scale research process
Medium utility-scale project phases are incorporated into the tracker using a primarily automated process to identify and de-duplicate installations across a variety of datasets. Medium utility-scale projects are mainly captured from government databases, and the coverage of this category is subject to the availability of these sources.
For each solar project larger than 20 MW (10 MW for Arabic-speaking countries) capacity, a wiki page is created on Global Energy Monitor’s wiki. Under standard wiki convention, all information is linked to a publicly-accessible published reference, such as a news article, company or government report, or a regulatory permit. In order to ensure data integrity in the open-access wiki environment, Global Energy Monitor researchers review all edits of project wiki pages.
Global Solar Power Tracker Release Notes
- This update covers research on Africa, Americas, Asia, and Oceania as defined by the United Nations’ region definitions.
- Project phases above the 20 MW threshold (10 MW for Arabic-speaking countries) are categorized as large utility-scale (previously called Data). Project phases below the large utility-scale threshold and above 1 MW are categorized as medium utility-scale (previously called Below Threshold) and are published in a separate tab in the downloadable dataset. This enables analyses to be comparable across different versions of the dataset while also significantly improving our coverage.
- This update covers research on Europe, Cyprus, and mainland China, as per United Nations’ region and subregion definitions.
- Project phases below the 20 MW global threshold (10 MW for Arabic-speaking countries) are provided for some countries when the data were readily available. Data on the below threshold phases is available in the downloadable dataset in a separate tab called ‘Below Threshold.’
- All global regions with the exception of Europe have been researched for this update.
- The Global Solar Power Tracker now includes solar thermal projects, also known as Concentrated Solar Power (CSP).
- Global Energy Monitor has transitioned to using the United Nations’ region and subregion definitions.
- The Global Solar Power Tracker has replaced the word “development” in the status domain with the term “pre-construction” to support consistent language across all of Global Energy Monitor’s trackers. The definition of “pre-construction” is consistent with the tracker’s previous definition of “development.”
- Global Energy Monitor has adopted the name “Türkiye” as a replacement for “Turkey.”