Growth came at a “crackling pace,” according to BNEF. But total renewable energy investment is stagnating.
Developing countries added 34 gigawatts of solar capacity over the last year, an increase of 54 percent, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s annual analysis of emerging markets.
BNEF’s Climatescope report attributes much of that growth to plummeting panel prices. Low prices brought a surge of installs in 71 emerging markets, such as Brazil, Uganda and India, up from just 3 gigawatts in 2011.
Last year, solar represented 19 percent of new generating capacity in these countries, up from just 10.6 percent the year prior. That added capacity can produce enough electricity to power all the homes in Peru or Nigeria.
“[Price] is creating opportunities ranging from multimillion-dollar projects that serve the grid, to small-scale installations that enable farmers to boost their yields through better irrigation and connect to the internet,” said Ethan Zindler, BNEF’s head of Americas, in a statement.
While solar capacity surged, headwinds formed.
Installations more than tripled in the last three years in developing countries. But much of that growth came in familiar territory. In 2016, most growth came from China, the globe’s leading solar market.