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Solar power capacity has likely hit 1 TW globally

In this week’s Gossage Gossip, our columnist discusses the highly likely scenario that solar power capacity has hit 1 TW globally.

Milestones may be arbitrary, but the morale boost they provide is not. The expectation is that the world has now installed enough solar panels to generate 1 TW of electricity directly from the sun.

The calculation that the world has now hit 1,000 GW of solar capacity is based on the confirmation that 183 GW was installed worldwide in 2022. There was already 788 GW of capacity in place at the end of 2021. These two values total 971 GW of installed solar. So the calculation can be confidently made that, three months into 2023, the world has almost certainly now also built the remaining 29 GW required to breach the 1 TW mark. 

The largest contributor to this capacity is China. By 2016 the People’s Republic had installed 100 GW, and has expanded capacity at a rapid rate since. Meanwhile, the European Union hit 100 GW in 2015, and the US hit 100 GW in the first quarter of 2021. Collectively, these three regions alone represent the majority of the world’s installed solar capacity. The UK has 14GW, about 4.4% of renewables mix.

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