Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Solar power capacity installed around the world this year will beat wind for the first time driven by stronger policy support in key markets, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Photovoltaic plants will add about 36.7 gigawatts globally during 2013 while wind farms will add 35.5 gigawatts, or almost 25 percent less than last year, the research company said in a statement today. In contrast, solar capacity will rise by about 20 percent compared with last year.
“The dramatic cost reductions in photovoltaics, combined with new incentive regimes in Japan and China, are making possible further, strong growth in volumes,” said Jenny Chase, BNEF’s head of solar analysis.
Lower panel costs and government support are accelerating the deployment of solar energy even as growth slows in the mature European markets. Wind installations, which were more than double solar ones before 2011, are also being slowed by Europe, as well as policy uncertainty in the U.S. and China.
Wind power installations will drop by almost a quarter this year to their lowest level since 2008 due to the policies in these two countries, according to Justin Wu, BNEF’s head of wind analysis. China and the U.S. combined represented about 60 percent of the global wind market last year.
Cumulative wind capacity was almost three times solar at the end of last year, with 278,000 megawatts in turbines operating compared with about 104,000 megawatts in panels, BNEF data show.
--Editors: Alex Devine, Tony Barrett