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GSR 2015 - Methodological Notes

243RENEWABLES 2015 GLOBAL STATUS REPORT N METHODOLOGICAL NOTES This 2015 report is the tenth edition of the Renewables Global Status Report (GSR), which has been produced annually since 2005 (with the exception of 2008). Readers are directed to the previous GSR editions for historical details. Most 2014 data for national and global capacity, output, growth, and investment portrayed in this report are preliminary. Where necessary, information and data that are conflicting, partial, or older are reconciled by using reasoned expert judgment. Endnotes provide additional details, including references, supporting information, and assumptions where relevant. (For information on renewable energy data and related challenges, see Sidebar 4 in this report, and Sidebar 1 in GSR 2014.) Eacheditiondrawsfromthousandsofpublishedandunpublished references, including: reports from international organisations and industry associations; input from the GSR community via hundreds of questionnaires submitted by country, regional, sectoral, and technology contributors, and feedback from several rounds of formal and informal reviews; additional personal communications with scores of international experts; as well as a variety of electronic newsletters, news media, and other sources. Much of the data found in the GSR is built from the ground up by the authors with the aid of these resources. This often involves extrapolation of older data, based on recent changes in key countries within a sector, or based on recent growth rates and global trends. Other data, often very specific and narrow in scope, come more-or-less prepared from third parties. The GSR attempts to synthesise these datapoints into a collective whole for the focus year. The GSR endeavours to cover accurately, on a global level, all data related to renewable energy markets and industries, policy developments, as well as renewable energy-related advances to expand energy access in developing countries. It aims to provide the best data available in each successive edition; as such, data should not be compared with previous versions of this report to ascertain year-by-year changes. NOTE ON ACCOUNTING AND REPORTING A number of issues arise when counting renewable energy capacities and energy output. Some of these are discussed below: 1. CAPACITY VERSUS ENERGY DATA The GSR aims to give accurate estimates of capacity additions and totals, as well as of electricity, heat, and transport fuel production in the past year. These measures are subject to some uncertainty, with the level of uncertainty differing from technology to technology. The section on Market and Industry Trends includes estimates for energy produced where possible, but, due to data constraints, it focuses mainly on electricity or heat capacity data. This is because capacity data generally can be estimated with a greater degree of certainty. Further, actual heat and electricity generation data for most countries are usually available only 12 months or more after the fact, and sometimes not at all. 2. CONSTRUCTED CAPACITY VERSUS CONNECTED CAPACITY AND OPERATIONAL CAPACITY Over the past few years, the solar PV and wind power markets have seen significant amounts of capacity that was connected to the electricity grid but not yet deemed officially operational, or constructed capacity that was not connected to the grid by year-end (and, in turn, capacity that was installed in one year but connected to the grid during the next). This phenomenon has been particularly evident for wind power installations in China (2009–2014), as well as for solar PV in some European countries in recent years. Starting with the 2012 edition, the GSR has aimed to count only capacity additions that were grid-connected, or that otherwise went into service (e.g., capacity intended for off-grid use), during the previous calendar year. However, there may be exceptions borne out of necessity of data availability (as with China, for example). Known deviations to this approach are outlined in the text and/or endnotes for the technology sections. The reasoning is that the sources from which the GSR draws have varying methodologies for counting installations, and many official bodies report grid connection statistics. As a result, in many countries the data for actual installations are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. Some renewable industry groups, including the European Photovoltaic Industry Association and the Global Wind Energy Council, have shifted to tracking and reporting on operational/grid-connected rather than installed capacities (with some exceptions). BACK

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