The global solar photovoltaic capacity has grown from around 5GW in 2005 to nearly 140 GW by the end of 2013. The main reasons for the rapid growth in the solar power installed capacity worldwide are the government’s policies promoting solar power, steep decline in the prices of the solar panels and an urgent need to shift focus from fossils fuels to the renewable energy.
Here is the list of top ten countries which are using solar power in terms of the installed capacity:
(1) Germany: 36.3 GW
Germany is no doubt the number one player in this segment. It has installed capacity of 36.3 GW. This world’s fourth largest economy has remained the top player in solar photo-voltaic for last so many years and it is planning to meet 80% of the electricity consumption of the whole country, by 2050, using renewable energy resources only. It has more than 25% of the world’s total solar installed capacity.
(2) China: 18.3 GW
The most populous country of the world, the republic of China is also world’s biggest carbon contributor has decided to harness clean energy through solar power. It has set target of 70 GW solar power installations by 2017. By looking at the growth rate of solar installed capacity for last 4 years, it is most likely that China will hold the number one position in the coming years. The aggression and the hunger of this giant for the implementation of the clean energy are gradually shifting focus from Europe to Asia.
(3) Italy: 17.9 GW
The solar power installations are going at a very fast pace, you can check the average growth rate of the solar installed capacity from the table; it is 137% per annum. Almost 7.8% of the total energy generation of Italy is coming from solar. The pace of the future growth rate depends on the policies and subsidies for the solar power by the government.
(4) Japan: 13.5 GW
The major earth quake and 15 meter high Tsunami in the year 2011, disrupted the power supply, generated by nuclear power plants, of the whole country. However, it has fueled hope for the solar power and set policy for the Japanese power sector, which emphasizes the use of the renewable energy. Since then, the solar power is booming and Japan has invested more than any country in solar energy in the year 2013.
(5) USA: 12 GW
There has been rapid growth in the installed capacity of the solar power in America. The main reasons are: the 8 years extension of the investment tax credit for renewable energy, Obama’s pro solar policies and the steep decline in the prices of the solar panels. The US is planning to produce 10% of the total electricity from solar power.
(6) Spain: 5.34 GW
Spain is one of the countries in Europe with maximum hours of sun shine. It has set up a target of 10 GW by 2020. Around 3.3% of the total electricity is produced through solar power. The solar power installed capacity is growing at a steady rate of 12.3% annually.
(7) France: 4.67 GW
The solar power is growing rapidly in France in last 4 years. The future growth rate depends on the support by the government for the new solar installation.
(8) United Kingdom: 3.4 GW
The 10 million homes should have solar power installed at their rooftop by 2020; this will cover around 6% of the total electricity need from the solar energy. The introduction of the FiT (Feed in tariff) is the main cause of the growth in the solar power market.
(9) Australia: 3.1 GW
Australia is a country of vast land resources and most of its land receives 4kWh – 6KWh per square meter per day of solar insolation. Its solar insolation values exceed average values in North America and Europe. The government is promoting solar energy through feed in tariff incentives and mandatory solar energy targets.
(10) Belgium: 2.98 GW
The Belgium solar market is growing since 2009, the credit goes to well designed Feed in Tariff system and the steep decline in the prices of the solar panels. The average annual growth rate is more than 62%.