Solar PV is nothing new, but it is only in the recent decade that we are seeing rapid adoption of this technology on a mainstream level. But who are the countries that are leading in the Solar PV race? Let’s find out in this article. We have ranked the countries in terms of solar energy production, consumption, and future plans.
Top 5 Countries in Solar PV
As the time of writing, China is leading the Solar PV race by a huge margin. It is the largest market for both photovoltaic cells and solar thermal energy sector. The Asian country is producing nearly 118 Twh every year. This solar revolution in China can be traced back to as early as 2007 when it was announced in National Development and Reform Commission to grow solar capacity to 1800 MW by 2020. Forward to 2020 and China is nearing 10 MW, almost seven-fold the target it had set in 2007. But even at this large scale, solar contributes a modest 1.84% of the total energy production in China. So the scope for improvement is huge for solar PV in China.
Limited natural resources underneath its soil means Japan had to look for alternatives as quickly as possible. And it has embraced Solar PV with arms wide open. The adoption which started as early as 1990s has made this tiny Asian country one of the largest manufacturers of photovoltaics. Not only that, it is also the leader in floating solar energy. Some of the lakes and water reservoirs in Japan are home to floating solar PVs which generate megawatts of energy every year without consuming any land mass. This puts Japan way ahead of its peers in terms of solar innovation.
Germans are producing almost 41.3 Gigawatts of energy every year from Solar power. Solar PV is the major source and accounts for nearly 6-7% of total energy production in the country. Government is funding various solar projects and has set a goal of achieving 35% of total energy production from solar PV installation itself. Germany is also investing in other renewable sources of energy like wind and geothermal.
The United States of America is a leading producer and consumer of Solar PV in the world. Since 2008, the USA has witnessed 35-fold growth in its solar energy production which currently stands at 62.5 Gigawatts per year. Its worth pointing out that the oldest solar power plant was actually installed in the US, in California to be precise. One of its states, Hawaii, is planning to reach 100% renewable energy by the year 2045. Many states have taken similar objectives. So safe to say America will only go up in the Solar PV race, if not lower.
The biggest democracy in the world is also among the major solar energy players in the world. The South-Asian nation receives about 5000 trillion kWh of energy every year. But only a meager percentage of converted into electricity currently. As of 2018, it stood at about 33.7 GW. So the potential for growth and development in this solar project is huge. With a population which is soon predicted to surpass that of China’s, India has to look to alternatives to meet its energy demand. And solar along with other renewable resources seem to be the best choices.