Considered as the cleanest and most sustainable renewable source of power, solar energy uses the sun’s rays converting it into electricity. The sun’s energy is harvested using mechanical devices such as photovoltaics, solar heating and cooling and by concentrating solar power. With the promise of a sustainable power supply, solar energy has been used in several countries to generate electricity and energize our houses and powering our products making our lives a better way to live without bearing a heavy conscience of not using a clean energy source.
Producing 9.8 gigawatts in 2010, Germany has steadily use solar energy as an alternative source of energy. It has a maintained energy production growth of 6 gigawatts per year where 3.8 gigawatts come from the installation of photovoltaic panels. Currently, Germany produces 35.5 gigawatts representing 26% of the world’s solar energy production making this western European country the world leader in solar energy. This success is mainly attributed to the heightened public awareness on the advantages of using solar energy and the availability of several companies that specializes on photovoltaic technology.
Who would ever think that a densely populated country having one of the biggest carbon footprint would engage in clean energy? Well, China does. Rising from 8th place producing only less than a third of gigawatt, China now sits on 2nd place producing 18.3 gigawatts of solar energy per year representing 13% of the global production. What is promising with China is not just the 70 gigawatt target production in 2017 but its commitment to cut down the use of coal which is considered as the world’s biggest carbon polluter. I think this just supports the saying that everything China does, it does big.
Next on the list is Italy producing 17.6 gigawatts. This Mediterranean nation initially produced 1.2 gigawatts in 2010 but has ever since grown due to market streamlining and harmonization of administrative procedures. What is interesting with Italy is that 7.8% of its total energy produce, which includes energy from coal and other sources, comes from solar power. This is higher compared to Germany even if it sits on the top of the list where its solar energy contribution represents only 6.2% of its total energy production.
Initially producing 2.6 gigawatts in 2010, Japan has increased its solar capacity by 500% contributed primarily from government initiated photovoltaic programs in residential areas. Currently producing 13.6 gigawatts, Japan promises to increase its national solar energy goals to 28 gigawatts in 2020. Not only this, considering that Japan has a small landmass compared to other solar producing nations, it has developed floating solar farms along its coastline to address its limited space.
You may wonder why United States is not on the list. We’re not yet finished as the Americans were able to produce a decent 12 gigawatts. It is hard to believe that the United States doesn’t have the bigger slice of solar energy production. But wait as there are moves running now that could quickly change the standings. Smart financing, state policies promoting solar energy and lifting of federal tax on solar credit will eventually boost the growth of solar energy production. Currently, there is a massive installation of large ground-mounted solar projects across the country.
There is no doubt that solar energy could be next main source of energy. While the supply of coal and petroleum products is becoming harder to find, countries are racing up to produce more solar energy using more advanced technologies. Who knows in the near future, we might not need anymore the services of our utility companies where energy can be produced in your very own house.