Solar power is widely seen as the most viable source of green energy due to its ease of installation and plentiful sunshine. There are currently about 305 gigawatts of solar generation capacity in the world, which is up from 50 gigawatts in 2010. According to information gathered by The Guardian, China and the US are leading leading this growth. Both countries nearly doubled their solar capacity from 2015 with the world in total adding nearly 80GW in 2016; up from just 50GW in 2015.

Government incentives and increasing concern about climate change has helped solar's strong growth. China alone accounted for nearly half of all solar installed last year with Asian markets as a whole accounting for nearly two-thirds of all new capacity in 2016.

European growth was strong, too, with the 100GW milestone surpassed in early 2016. Since then, growth has slowed, prompting calls for the EU to increase its renewable energy goal from 20% to 35% by 2030. Stalled tax incentives in the UK have caused a near 50% decline in new installations, but they still lead Europe by a sizable margin.

In order to maintain this trend, it's clear governments need to continue incentivizing homeowners and businesses to go solar. Reliable and large scale energy storage technologies need to be developed as well. Overall 2016 was a good year for solar energy, but there's still a long way to go.