Solar Energy is becoming of immense importance in current times. With global warming breathing heavily over our shoulders, we just cannot do without wind and solar energy. Countries across the world have geared up to develop alternative energy sources for better living.
India,for example is both densely populated and has high solar insolation, which is an ideal combination for using Solar Energy. However, on the world map, India lags far behind other countries in solar generation, although the country has made significant progress in wind energy generation.
They are making big strides however in trying to catch up.Back in July 2009, India unveiled a $19-billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020.To further achieve their aims the Indian government has decreed that all government buildings, hospitals and schools must be totally solar powered.
Let us take a look at the top 10 countries using solar power.
Total use: 10,000 megawatts
Germany is the world leader in solar energy and aims to be totally 100% renewable by 2050
In 2009 alone, Germany installed 3,806 megawatts of solar energy capacity, which is more than Spain’s total capacity and almost eight times more than the US recently installed.
Total use: 3,500 MW
Spain was the world leader in newly installed PV solar energy (2,605 MW) in 2008 but has been overtaken by Germany as its new installed capacity decreased tremendously (to just 69 MW) in 2009.
The reasons for this drop are attributed to the delay and complexity of a new government subsidy programme and a decrease in energy demand due to the economic crisis.
With expectations that both of these will improve, Spain is expected to bump up its solar energy capacity again this year.
Total use: 2,700 MW
Perhaps a surprise entry at No3, Japan has set a high solar energy goal of achieving 28 GW by 2020 and 53 GW by 2030.
$9 billion was invested in their solar energy program in 2009 alone, and the government also announced a plan to install solar power at 32,000 schools.
4. United States
Total use: 1,800 MW
From a relatively low starting point solar energy use is expected to rise rapidly in the US over the next few years,due to the large number of solar projects already in the pipeline.These were aided not only by supportive state level policies but also by the lifting of the Federal solar tax credit cap in 2009.
Total use: 1,300 MW
In 2009, Italy had experienced the second-largest Solar Power growth in the world.
Italians install more solar power ever 2 months than California does in an entire year.
6. Czech Republic
Total use: 600 MW
Again,perhaps a surprising entry into the list.The Solar energy market in this country has boomed,due to a generous Feed in Tariff and a general slashing of administrative red tape.There are some concerns though that the boom is unsustainable and the solar energy bubble will probably burst in the coming years.
Total use: 450 MW
Belgium is a bit of a 2011 solar energy surprise.
Belgium’s success was from ‘a well-designed Green Certificates scheme (which actually works as a Feed-in Tariff), combined with additional tax rebates and electricity self-consumption.’
Total use: 400 MW
China is a major solar panel manufacturer but has installed very little of it itself. But that is about to change dramatically.
The Chinese government has recently announced projects totally12 Gigawatts of solar energy and when these projects are implemented China will undoubtedly rise to the top of the list.
According to China’s national energy plan, Solar energy production is expected to reach a total of 20 GW by 2020.
Total use: 350 MW
France has a well-designed Feed in Tariff system which has encouraged solar uptake.One concern however,appears to be the amount of production that is not connected to the Grid.In 2009, 285 MW of capacity was installed but only 185 MW was connected to the grid.This is an issue which clearly will have to be addressed.
Total use: 200 MW
India is developing quickly and has ever increasing electricity demands. Its climate makes it ideal for Solar production and the Indian government has also been moving forward strongly on clean energy.
The country has a goal to reach 20 GW by 2020 as well.Many experts expect India to rise steadily on the listing over the coming years.
The above listing is of course based on large scale commercial projects.If you want to read more on how you can individually benefit from Solar or Wind Energy click here now.