PV Magazine recently took a big picture look at solar panels globally. Installation has now soared past 1,000 gigawatts of solar and can now be measured in terawatts. The largest contributor is China, who broke through — and blew past — 100GW in late 2016 or early 2017. The European Union hit 100GW in 2015. In the US, the 100GW number was hit in the first quarter of 2021. These three regions represent more than half of the world’s installed solar capacity. According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2021, the world generated 26,823 terawatt hours of electricity in 2020, with 855 of those TWhrs – 3.1% – from solar. Since solar grew 23% in 2021, next year’s BP Statistical Review likely will show that solar generation broke 1 petawatt hour of generation in 2021. Models predict that dozens of terawatts of solar capacity will be needed to decarbonize electricity, transportation, heating, and industrial systems.

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