New solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity increased by 50 percent in 2016, according to a renewables market analysis and forecast from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Additions of solar PV grew faster than any other fuel and surpassed the net growth in coal, the IEA added. This was the first time this has happened, it said. Photovoltaic refers to a way of directly converting light from the sun into electricity.
"We see renewables growing by about 1,000 GW (gigawatts) by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build," Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director, said in a statement within the report.
"What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV," Birol added.
"We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology through 2022."
According to the IEA's report on Wednesday, renewables accounted for nearly two-thirds of net new power capacity in 2016. Almost 165 gigawatts (GW) came online in 2016, with the IEA adding that renewable electricity capacity looked set to grow by 43 percent by the year 2022.
Speaking to CNBC on Wednesday, Birol said this year's report showed another record for growth in renewable energy.