Around the World in 80kWh: Solar Across the Globe

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Many countries have shown a commitment to generating more environmentally friendly energy in recent years. So it’s interesting to see how this is playing out across the globe.

Here we will take a look at some countries that are leading the way in solar energy production.

  • Germany

Germany has long since been at the forefront of solar power. This seems surprising given its more temperate climate. However, it just goes to show that solar energy production is possible the world over.

While the total amount of power produced is not on the same scale as some larger nations at just 49 gigawatts, per capita results are more impressive. Alongside this, Germany is one of the best countries in terms of residential solar power with more than 120,000 homes having systems installed.

Germany has strong ambitions for its solar energy development, and by 2050 the country hopes to source up to 80% of its power this way, with other renewable sources making up the extra 20%.

  • China

China, as the largest producer of PV panels, has a significantly bigger solar energy capacity than any other country at a massive 130 gigawatts. Given that it also has both the largest population and the biggest carbon footprint, the country’s commitment to renewable energy is promising.

Giant solar farms are being set up with the hope of supplying clean energy and reducing air pollution levels. The biggest of these farms is situated in the Tengger Desert. It covers a staggering 17 square miles, and its capacity exceeds 1,500 megawatts.

In fact, solar energy generation has been so successful in China that it is now actually cheaper than grid power in hundreds of cities. Moreover, the large-scale production of panels is driving down the cost of solar energy around the world.

  • Japan

Japan is another surprising leader in solar energy production. It currently has a capacity of around 28 gigawatts, but that figure is increasing all the time.

Given that the country is so densely populated, the Japanese have needed to come up with inventive solutions for panel placement. Alongside repurposing old golf course which were abandoned when the sport decreased in popularity, they also developed so-called ‘solar island’.

These floating solar farms each contain thousands of water-resistant solar panels. Placed in lakes and reservoirs across the country, they actually offer several significant advantages over regular kinds, including the ability to be more efficiently cooled by the water around them.

  • India

As a country with one of the fastest-growing solar industries, India’s solar capacity has reached 37.6 gigawatts. While that may not seem very much when compared with the country’s massive population, this number is growing all the time.

One of the main reasons for this is that India is now producing the world’s cheapest solar power. It’s large-scale installation costs are less than a third of those of Canada where prices were found to be highest.

To date, India has established 42 solar parks to meet the demand. In addition to this, they are developing off-grid solar power for local and rural energy needs.

  • United States

In comparison, the United States is second only to China in terms of its solar energy capacity, which is around 77.7 gigawatts. This is sufficient to power around 12 million average American homes. However, it still falls short of German’s level of per capita capacity.

Yet solar energy in the States is becoming increasingly viable for both commercial and residential use. This is due in part to a significant drop in the cost of installation and various incentives offered out to home and business owners in different states.

Of all the renewable energy sources, solar is expected to grow the fastest from now to 2050 with estimates that it will be more than three times what it currently is by then. Solar power certainly seems to be the future of clean energy.


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