Five Asian countries now at the top of global solar power rankings
4 July 2022
Asian countries now make up five of the top ten solar-powered economies thanks to a decade of growth that has enabled a number of Asia’s biggest economies to significantly expand their solar capacity. A decade ago, only two countries in Asia made it to the list, while European countries dominated the top of the solar ranking.
This is according to a new analysis by electricity think tank Ember, which looked at how total solar power capacity has changed over the last 10 years in countries across the world.
The analysis highlights how much solar capacity has changed over the last 11 years, with countries such as China, India, Viet Nam and South Korea able to slide into the top 10 globally. In 2010, India ranked 22nd globally while Viet Nam ranked 196th.
China’s 307 gigawatts of solar is already the biggest total installed capacity in the world. Impressively, China is set to double its record-setting rate of new solar development in 2022, according to state media, with the goal of installing 108 gigawatts of solar power this year.
China’s solar capacity installed this year alone would equate to more than the total solar power capacity installed across the US, double that of Germany, and over five times the total installed solar power of Australia.
Viet Nam has also seen a rapid solar expansion between 2019 and 2020, with a 234% increase in solar capacity in a single year.
According to IRENA, global solar capacity amounted to 849 GW in 2021, 19% higher than the previous year. As a result, the world generated 3.7% of its electricity from solar in 2021, with the average across Asia just under 3%. Much of this rise has been thanks to recent increases across the region, but it also highlights how far solar has to grow before it can displace fossil fuels.
Within the region, China and India have seen incredible growth of their respective solar industries, leading to significant shifts in how much electricity is being generated by solar power each year. China’s solar share has increased from 0.02% in 2010 to 3.89% in 2021, while India has increased its share of solar from 0.01% to over 4% in 2021.
While Japan remained in 4th place globally, its solar capacity increased from 3.62GW in 2010 to 74.19GW in 2021. As a result, solar generated close to 10% of Japan’s electricity production in 2021. In 2010, solar accounted for only 0.3% of its energy mix.
Dr. Evan Gach Program Coordinator, Kiko Network JapanJapan's increase in the share of solar shows that, with a clear and focused vision, quickly expanding renewables is entirely possible in Japan. This will hopefully be just the beginning.
According to both the IPCC and the IEA, to keep climate change below 1.5 degrees of warming, Asian countries should aim to power at least 40% of their electricity grids from wind and solar by 2030. This will require both tailored national policy innovation and investment, but also collective economic and technological cooperation on a grand scale.
Achmed Shahram Edianto Asia Electricity Analyst, EmberIf Asia’s rapidly developing economies are able to scale up their solar industries and collectively confront the challenges of the energy transition, they will be at the forefront of securing the jobs, industries and opportunities of a renewable future.