WORLD TOP 5 COUNTRIES WITH HIGHEST USE OF SOLAR ENERGY
Solar energy is actually nothing new. People have used solar power as far back in history as the seventh century B.C. In its most primitive state, energy from the sun has been revered and put to use almost as long as man has walked the earth.
The earliest use of solar energy included focusing the sun’s energy through a magnifying glass to start fires for cooking.
WORLD TOP 5 COUNTRIES WITH HIGHEST USE OF SOLAR ENERGY
Albert Einstein had a role to play in bringing the world’s attention to solar energy and its potential. In 1905, Einstein published a paper on the photoelectric effect and how light carries energy.
This generated more attention and acceptance for solar power on a broader scale. Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson (inducted to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2008) were the brains behind the silicon solar cell at Bell Labs.
Considered the first practical device for converting solar energy to electricity. Solar power is a critical technology for many countries seeking to reduce emissions from their energy sectors.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar is on track to set records for new global deployments. Each year after 2022, an average of 125 GW of new capacity is expected globally between 2021 and 2025.
Solar PV generation increased 22% in 2019 and represented the second-largest absolute generation growth of all renewable technologies. Slightly behind wind and ahead of hydropower, according to the agency.
1 . Firstly, CHINA
To begin with, China is easily the world’s biggest market for solar energy. The country develops plans to neutralize its carbon emissions before 2060, and activity is likely to accelerate even further over the coming decades.
The country boasts by far the world’s largest installed solar energy fleet, measured at 205 GW in 2019, according to the IEA’s Renewables 2020 report. In the same year, power generation from solar energy totaled 223.8 terawatt-hours (TWh) in the country. The largest single solar project in China is the Huanghe Hydropower Hainan Solar Park (2.2 GW) in Qinghai province.
2 . Secondly, UNITED STATE
The United States had the world’s second-largest installed solar capacity in 2019, totaling 76 GW and producing 93.1 TWh of electricity. Over the coming decade, United States solar installations are forecast to reach around 419 GW. The country accelerates its clean energy efforts and attempts to fully decarbonize its power system by 2035.
Utility-scale projects dominate the United States solar industry, with California, Texas, Florida, and Virginia among the most active states in the domestic market.
3 . Thirdly, JAPAN
Japan ranks third among countries with the largest solar power capacity, with a fleet totaling 63.2 GW in 2019, according to the IEA’s data, generating 74.1 TWh of electricity.
Alternative sources of energy like solar and other renewables have become more popular since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. This prompted the country to significantly scale back its activities in nuclear energy.
Japan has used feed-in-tariff (FiT) schemes to incentivize the deployment of solar technology to good effect.
Japanese PV additions are expected to contract to start in 2022. Mainly due to the phaseout of the generous FiT scheme for large-scale projects and undersubscribed capacity in previous auctions, says the IEA.
Nevertheless, installed solar capacity in Japan could approach 100 GW by 2025 dependent on government policies and cost declines.
4 . Also, GERMANY
Moreover, Germany is the leading country in Europe for solar deployments, with a national fleet totaling around 49.2 GW in 2019, generating 47.5 TWh of electricity. Competitive auctions have boosted the industry in recent years. The German government recently proposed increasing its 2030 solar installation target to 100 GW. Thus, it targets a 65% share of renewables in its energy mix by the end of the decade.
Small-scale, private installations are common in Germany, incentivized by government support mechanisms. Such incentives include remuneration for excess generation, while utility-scale projects are expected to grow over the coming years.
The country’s largest solar project to date is the 187-megawatt (MW) Weesow-Willmersdorf facility northeast of Berlin.
5 . Lastly, INDIA
Also, India has the world’s fifth-largest installed solar capacity, totaling 38 GW in 2019, and producing 54 TWh of electricity.
By 2040, the IEA expects solar to hold a roughly 31% share of India’s energy mix under currently-stated policy ambitions, compared to less than 4% today. The agency cites the “extraordinary cost-competitiveness of solar” in India as a driving force of this turnaround, “which out-competes existing coal-fired power by 2030 even when paired with battery storage”.
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