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Global Solar Energy Rising

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Regardless of political and economic shifts around the globe, renewable energy has continued to grow in both residential and commercial markets. With countries setting high goals for energy changes the solar market is rapidly expanding to meet new market demand for both products and jobs. Currently, solar has outpaced coal in terms of job growth and it shows no signs of stopping. Here is a quick look at the countries that truly embracing solar energy.


Germany’s government has set goals to continually increase renewable energy installations. Their long-term minimum targets are set to 35% by 2020, 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Regardless of SolarWorld’s German branch filing for bankruptcy, the market for renewables in Germany are still moving forward. Germany’s current installed solar power is 39,275 Gigawatts.


China is largely responsible for the markets overall decrease in the cost of solar panels. With high efficiency modules hitting the market from manufacturers like Hanwha Q Cells the future of renewables is heavily correlated with the low prices set by the Chinese market. The country itself is set to reduce fossil fuel energy by 20% by 2030. With their heavy reliance on coal and heavy air pollution, it is extremely important for the country to meet and hopefully exceed these goals to assist in cleaning up the country’s air and reduce their carbon emissions. China’s current installed solar power is 35.78 Gigawatts.


The beautiful country of Japan is currently a world leader in solar largely due to its government residential PV programs, net metering, and the overwhelming support of consumers. They are set to reach 28 Gigawatts of installed power by 2020 and 53 Gigawatts by 2030. Japan’s current installed solar power is 23.3 Gigawatts.

United States

The majority of installed solar power in the United States resides in California. The state is set to source 33% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020, and has recently set a goal of reaching 100% by 2045. There is currently 4,324 Megawatts of utility scale power plants under construction and an additional 25,926 Megawatts are under development. Corporations such as Amazon and Google are further planning their own commercial scale solar arrays to add to their already impressive installations. The United States current installed solar power is 18.3 Gigawatts.


Italy has been making the shift to renewable energy for a number of years, following the trend set by many European countries. During 2013 solar power accounted for 7% of the total electricity generated in the country, which makes it rank number one in the world. The number is expected to double by the year 2030. Italy’s current installed solar power is 17.9 Gigawatts.


The government in Spain has remained consistent in their commitment to switching to renewables consistently since the early 2000s. Their current goal of reaching 12% of primary energy from renewables was reached in 2010, and the country has set an expectation to have installed solar power generate 10,000 megawatts of power by 2020. Spain’s current installed solar power is 5.6 Gigawatts.


France set expectations for renewables for the country early on, and have set a plan in motion to reach 8,000 megawatts of renewable energy power by 2020. France’s current installed solar power is 5.2 Gigawatts.


Australia as a country has the highest electricity costs in the world. To address this problem the Council of Sydney is attempting to make the city of Sydney run on renewable energy at 100% by the end of 2030. The blueprints for their plans are publicly available and can serve as a foundation for other countries to reach similar goals. Australia’s current installed solar power is 3.3 Gigawatts.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has set high goals for the country, similar to those in France and many other European countries. An estimated 4 million homes and 22,000 megawatts of solar power by the year 2020 is expected to come from homes across the UK. The United Kingdom’s current installed solar power is 3 Gigawatts.


Although growth has significantly slowed in Belgium since 2012, the country still remains among the top countries for installed solar power. In 2012 the installed capacity expanded to over 2.6 gigawatt-peak (GWp), with the majority of the power being grid-connected. For growth to continue the country will most likely have to utilize off-grid and hybrid systems to take away some of the strain that is being put on the grid as it is unlikely that utility companies will rise to meet the expectations solar is currently putting on the grid. Belgium’s current installed solar power is 2.9 Gigawatts.

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