Several countries have joined Germany, Spain, China and the US in recent years in using solar energy. These countries with their supportive government policies have certainly taken excellent strides in installing solar energy. However, these are not the only countries that have installed solar energy. Here’s a list of the top 10 countries that use solar power. Each country is ranked based on their installed PhotoVoltaic (PV) solar energy capacity.
1. Germany: 9,785 Mega Watts Capacity Of PV Solar Energy
Germany uses 9,785 MW of solar energy at present. In the year 2009, a 3,806 MW of PhotoVoltaic solar energy capacity was installed in Germany, which is about 8 times the quantity that America installed in the same year. Germany is blessed with great financing opportunities, an excellent Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme, all of which is aided by several knowledgeable PV companies and PV technology awareness. Germany may well add an additional 5,000 MW of solar power this in 2011, and use 100% renewable energy by 2050.
2. Spain: 3,386 Mega Watts Capacity Of PV Solar Energy
Having installed 2605 MW of PV solar energy in 2008, Spain’s capacity has decreased to a mere 69 MW in 2009. Several reasons have been attributed to this decrease; delays in the new government subsidy program, complexity of the technology, and decrease in demand for energy during the recent economic downturn. Spain is expected to improve its solar energy capacity in 2011, given that it enjoys great PV potential and sun irradiation.
3. Japan: 2,633 Mega Watts Capacity Of PV Solar Energy
Japan enjoys Government support via residential PV programs and net-metering. This country has an ambitious goal to achieve 28 GW of PV solar energy capacity by year 2020. Japan further plans on attaining a PV solar energy capacity of 53 GW by 2030 as well. Having invested $9 billion in 2009 into solar energy, Japan also plans to install solar power at 32,000 public schools.
4. United States: 1,650 Mega Watts Capacity Of PV Solar Energy
The US has several planned ground-mounted solar projects. The current installed PV solar energy is expected to grow significantly in the future. The US is also campaigning for a national legislation promoting solar energy; if this comes through, the US could well become the world leader in solar energy installations in the future. To make things easier, the US also lifted the cap on federal solar tax credit in 2009. The market for residential solar panels went up during the recession, by 37% in just one year.
5. Italy: 1,167 Mega Watts Capacity Of PV Solar Energy
A great deal of sunshine, net-metering and a properly segmented FiT has allowed Italy to grow as a solar energy world leader. In the 2009 survey, Italy was found to be the country with the second-largest solar energy growth. Italy’s future PV solar energy growth depends on how this small country streamlines and harmonizes its administrative procedures, the expected decrease in price and FiT.
6. Czech Republic: 465 Mega Watts Capacity Of PV Solar Energy
The Czech Republic has incorporated generous FiT policies and kept it simple with easy to execute administrative procedures. The Czech Republic has installed more solar power than other countries (excluding Germany) per capita, in 2009. The demand is high but the supply is not keeping up with it, which makes for unsustainable growth. The Czech Republic needs to put appropriate policies in place to slow market growth or fail in their endeavor.
7. Belgium: 363 Mega Watts Capacity Of PV Solar Energy
In 2009, of the countries that were reviewed for PV solar energy installations, Belgium was a surprise package. Belgium Feed-in-Tariff program, encapsulated in its Green Certificates scheme is aided by electricity self-consumption and additional tax rebates. These factors have helped Belgium to make the cut; however, owing to a cut in the FiT, Belgium is predicted to lose its advantage in the coming years.
8. China: 305 Mega Watts Capacity Of PV Solar Energy
China manufactures a great number of solar panels but has not installed much PV capacity yet. However, China now plans to install 12 GW of PV solar energy in several large projects. If these projects are implemented, it’s possible that China will replace Germany at the top of the list. China’s national energy plan indicates that its solar energy capacity might reach 20 GW by 2020.
9. 272 Mega Watts Capacity Of PV Solar Energy: France
Building-integrated PhotoVoltaics (BIPV) dominates the French market, owing to its FiT policies. France is taking measures to ensure that the system is not abused; there are plans to revise tariff in sync with price speculations. France has installed several MW of solar energy; still, many of these installations are not yet connected to the grid. For example, 285 MW was installed in 2009, but only 185 MW of this capacity was connected to the grid.
10. India: 120 Mega Watts Capacity Of PV Solar Energy
India faces a great demand for electricity. Given its high sun irradiation levels, India is poised to move forward with solar energy, with a goal to achieve 20 GW by 2020. With the proper government strategies and support from local authorities, India could well rise higher in this list. The National Solar Mission of 2009 and the market demand together might define a longterm power purchase agreement, which will help start PV installations and deployment in India.
Marina is freelance writer and writes on specialty products like – decorative mirrors, Limoges, music boxes and lot more.