Solar power to overtake wind for the first time

Solar power capacity is set to overtake wind for the first time this year, as a slowdown in the world’s two largest wind markets, China and the U.S., clear the way for a growing solar market, according to a report released Thursday.

Clean energy news and data provider Bloomberg  New Energy Finance forecast new onshore and offshore wind farms to add 33.8 gigawatts and 1.7 gigawatts, respectively, to global power markets.

That compares with an estimated 36.7 gigawatts of new photovoltaic, or PV, capacity, the first year in which solar power will add more megawatts than wind.

“The dramatic cost reductions in PV, combined with new incentive regimes in Japan and China, are making possible further, strong growth in volumes,” said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Europe is a declining market, because many countries there are rapidly moving away from incentives, but it will continue to see new PV capacity added.”

Wind may be down but not out. Wind installations will shrink by nearly 25% in 2013 to their lowest level since 2008, due to the slowdowns in the U.S. and China caused by policy uncertainty, BNEF said.

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