Deployment of solar power to energy grids explained

See main article: Solar energy. Deployment of solar power to energy grids depends largely upon local conditions and requirements. Many industrialized nations are installing significant solar power capacity in their grids as a reliable economic supplement or alternative to other power sources. Long distance transmission allows remote renewable energy resources to be used to displace fossil fuel consumption. Solar, hydro and wind sources can't be moved closer to high population cities, and solar costs are lowest in remote areas where local power needs are the least. Connection costs alone can determine whether any particular renewable alternative is economically sensible. Costs can be prohibitive for transmission lines.

Most electrical grids are relatively local, as transporting electricity more than about was not efficient. However, newer, higher voltage lines now make possible transmission over, allowing the development of a global energy grid.A global energy grid will allow bringing solar power from the sunny Middle East and Mexico to Europe and North America.

Solar power plants use one of two technologies


June 7, 2007 Rwanda formally opened Africa's largest solar energy plant, Kigali Solaire, on Mount Jali, 250 kW, near the city of Kigali.[1]



See main article: Solar power in India. Government support and subsidies have been major influences in its progress.[2] India's very long-term solar potential may be unparalleled in the world because it is one of the few places with an ideal combination of both high solar power reception and a large consumer base in the same place. India's theoretical solar potential is about 5000 trillion KW·h per year (i.e. 600 TW), far more than its current total consumption. The Rajashtan government has set aside a 35,000 km² area of the Thar desert for solar power.[3]

The grid-connected solar power as of June, 2007 was 2.12 MW.[4]


In 2005, the Israeli government announced an international contract for building a 100 MW solar trough plant to supply the electricity needs of more than 200,000 Israelis living in southern Israel. The plan may eventually allow the creation of a gigantic 500 MW power plant, making Israel a leader in solar power production.[5]


As of 2004, Japan had 1200 MWe installed. Japan currently consumes about half of worldwide production of solar modules, mostly for grid connected residential applications.

South Asia

Solar power in South Asia

South Korea

South Korea installed about 21 MW of photovoltaics in 2006, mostly because of feed in tariffs.[6]


See main article: Solar power in Australia.

The largest solar power station in Australia is a 400 kW (peak) photovoltaic array at Singleton, New South Wales.

Other significant solar arrays include the 220 kWp array on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands in South Australia, the 200kWp array at Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne and the 160kWp array at Kogarah Town Square in Sydney.

A 30 MWe solar thermal `coal saver' system is currently under construction at Liddell power station by Macquarie Generation and Solar Heat and Power. The system used `compact linear Fresnel reflector' technology developed in Australia. It will provide solar-powered steam to the 600 MW black coal power station's boiler feedwater heater. The project is funded by Macquarie Generation in order to meet its requirements under the Australian Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) scheme.

A 154 MW (peak) solar power station in Victoria will soon begin construction.[7] [8]

A building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) installation of 60 kW in Brisbane (at the Hall-Chadwick building) has an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) which gives around 10-15 minutes worth of emergency power in the event of the loss of electricity supply. Any power not used by the UPS is connected to the grid and goes towards reducing the building's overall power bills.

Numerous smaller arrays have been established, mainly in remote areas where solar power is cost-competitive with diesel power.[9]


See main article: Solar power in the European Union.


A large solar PV plant is planned for the island of Crete. Research continues into ways to make the actual solar collecting cells less expensive and more efficient.


See main article: Solar power in Germany. Germany was the fastest growing major PV market in the world in 2005, particularly because of implementing a Feed in Tariff. In 2005, 837 MWp of PV were installed. The German PV industry generates over 10,000 jobs in production, distribution and installation. Over 90% of solar PV installations are in grid-tied applications in Germany. The balance is off-grid (or stand alone) systems.[10]

Completed in 2006, the 12 MW Solarpark Gut Erlasee photovoltaic system, near Arnstein in Bavaria, Germany, is currently Germany's largest PV system [11] . The 10 MW Solarpark Bavaria in Germany was also the largest PV installation when completed in 2005, covering 25 hectares (62 acres) with 57,600 photovoltaic panels [12] .


See main article: Solar power in Portugal. On April 27, 2006, GE Energy Financial Services, PowerLight Corporation and Catavento Lda announced that they will build one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic power projects. The 11-megawatt solar power plant, comprising 52,000 photovoltaic modules, will be built at a single site in Serpa, Portugal, 200 kilometers (124 miles) southeast of Lisbon in one of Europe’s sunniest areas. [13]


See main article: Solar power in Spain. In March 2007, Europe's first commercial concentrating solar power tower plant was opened near the sunny southern Spanish city of Seville. The 11 megawatt plant known as PS10, produces electricity with 624 large heliostats. PS10 is the first of a set of solar electric power generation plants to be constructed in the same area that will total more than 300MW by 2013. This power generation will be accomplished using a variety of technologies.

Two 50 MWe solar thermal trough power plants, AndaSol-1 and AndaSol-2, are being built in the region of Andalucia, each with a 510,120 m² solar collector field and six hours’ thermal storage. The AndaSol-1 project obtained financial closure in May 2006 and has received a €5 million grant from the European Commission’s (EC) Fifth Framework Programme, along with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Environment. Construction started in July 2006 and will be completed in 2008.

A 15 MWe solar-only power tower plant, the Solar Tres project, is in the hands of the Spanish company SENER, employing United States molten salt technologies for receiver and energy storage.

The Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA) in Spain, part of the Center for Energy, Environment and Technological Research (CIEMAT), is the largest center for research, development, and testing of concentrating solar technologies in Europe.[14]

United Kingdom

See main article: Solar power in the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, the second tallest building in Manchester, the CIS Tower, was clad in photovoltaic panels at a cost of £5.5 million and started feeding electricity to the national grid on November 2005.[15]

North America

United States

See main article: Solar power in the United States. The world's largest solar power plant, the solar trough-based Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS), is located in the Mojave Desert. Solel[16], an Israeli company, operates the plant, which consists of 1000 acres (4 km²) of solar reflectors and produces 354 MW (compared to the largest PV plant of 12 MWp). At the beginning of 2005, this plant was estimated to produce 90% of the world's commercially produced grid-connected solar power,[5] however the rapid growth of photovoltaics has increased the percentage generated with photovoltaics. By the end of 2006 624 megawatts of photovoltaics had been installed in the US,[17] and 830 megawatts by the end of 2007.[18] In the near future, very large scale photovoltaic projects are proposed which "could generate many times the current primary global energy supply". To compensate for night time energy needs large pumped storage capacity would also be needed.

In some areas of the United States, PV electric systems are already competitive with utility systems. As of 2005, there is a list of technical conditions that factor into the economic feasibility of going solar: the amount of sunlight that the area receives; the purchase cost of the system; the ability of the system owner to sell power back to the electric grid; and most important, the competing power prices from the local utility. For example, a photovoltaic system installed in Boston, Massachusetts, produces 25% less electricity than it would in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but yields a greater savings on utility bills since electricity costs 60% more in Boston.

In addition to these considerations, many states and regions offer substantial incentives to improve the economics for potential consumers. Up until December 31, 2008 homeowners can claim one federal credit of up to $2,000 to cover 30% of a photovoltaic system's cost and another 30% credit of up to $2,000 for a solar thermal system. After that there is no limit on the 30% credit through the end of 2016. Fifteen states also offer tax breaks for solar, and two dozen states offer direct consumer rebates.[19]

Solar One was a pilot solar thermal project in the Mojave Desert near Barstow, California. It used heliostats, and molten salts storage technology, to achieve longer periods of power generation. It was rebuilt as Solar Two, which elaborated on the success of Solar One. It was an R&D project, partly financed by the US federal Department of Energy. Solar Two used liquid salts as a storage medium in order to continue to provide energy for much of the time when sunlight is not available. Its success has led to the larger Solar Tres project in Spain.

Nevada Solar One is the third largest solar power plant in the world, generating 64MW. It is being built in Boulder City, Nevada. [20] Nevada Solar One will use parabolic troughs as thermal solar concentrators, heating tubes of liquid (solar receivers), instead of the power tower concentrator (as Solar One used).

On August 11, 2005, Southern California Edison announced an agreement to purchase solar-powered Stirling engines from Stirling Energy Systems over a twenty year period and in quantities (20,000 units) sufficient to generate 500 megawatts of electricity.[21] These systems - to be installed on a 4,500 acre (18 km²) solar farm - will use mirrors to direct and concentrate sunlight onto the engines which will drive generators. Less than a month later, Stirling Energy Systems announced another agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric to provide between 300 and 900 megawatts of electricity.[22]

On January 12, 2006, the California Public Utilities Commission approved the California Solar Incentive Program[23], a comprehensive $2.8 billion program that provides incentives toward solar development over 11 years.

A survey conducted in May 2007 showed that 87% of Americans think that solar electricity should be an option for all new home construction, up from 77% a year ago.[24]

In April 2007 MMA Renewable Ventures, a MuniMAE company, announced they will be leasing 140acres at the western edge of Norris Air Base in Nevada to build a 15 MW PV system by the end of the year, slated to be the countries biggest, and is expected to generate over 25 million KWh/year.[25] The power plant, Nellis Solar Power Plant, was completed in December, 2007.

On July 25, 2007, PG&E signed an agreement with Solel, the same firm that runs the SEGS plants (see above), for 553 megawatts of solar power in the Mojave Desert.[26] . If completed on schedule (2011), it will displace SEGS as the largest solar power plant in the world.


Mexico is already the greatest solar energy producer in Latin America and it is planning a solar trough based plant with 30MW which will use a combined cycle gas turbine about 400MW to provide electricity to the city of Agua Prieta, Sonora. The World Bank has financed this project with US$50 million.

Worldwide installed photovoltaic totals

Produced, Installed & Total Photovoltaic Peak Power Capacity (MWp) as of the end of 2006
Country or Region
Report Nat. Int.
Feed-in Tariff
Germany [27] [28] 514.0341.03950953322,8312,86334.784.0-5.31000-1300[29] 51.8-56.8
Japan [30] 919.8645.41.531285.1286.688.591,6201,70913.372.961200-1600Ended(2005)
United States [31] 201.6200.5371081452703546242.0582.980900-21501.2-31.04(CA)
China <--Page 18 Quote:"15 MW of new capacity were reportedly installed taking the cumulative capacity to date to 85 MW […] for PV modules in 2006. Note that China’s total cumulative capacity includes more than 12 MW of ‘PV products’ (calculators, garden lights, torches, etc.); this category of application is not generally reported by IEA PVPS countries and is not included in the applications analysis presented in this report." Note: the report on China discusses modules & off-grid systems only.Page 24 Quote:"[…]China reportedly expanding cell production to over 380 MW in 2006,[…]Similarly, China accounts for the lion’s share of non-PVPS module production, with an apparent production of over 510 MW in 2006."-->380510151573730.0551300-2300
Australia [32][33] 0-26.4(SA'08)
Netherlands [34]
Italy [35]
France [36] 33.536.01.4789.41210.8921.5522.3843.930.6853.2-5.11100-200030.0-55.0
Thailand <--Page 19 Quote:"based on a programme for roll-out of 24 MW of PV to some 200 000 remote homes during 2004 and 2005,[…]30 MW have reportedly been installed to date" Note: this may indicate an off-grid Δ of 6 MW, Σ to 30 MWPage 24 Quote:"[…]Thailand (20 MW) are also noteworthy module manufacturing countries."-->206630300.4772.52200-2400
Switzerland [38]
Austria 0.2741.291.5643.16922.4225.593.0763.6-4.31200-2000>0
Luxembourg [39] 0.0420.04223.6023.6050.541100-1200
Canada [40] 02.353.3540.3843.73818.981.50820.480.6203.760900-17500-29.48(ON)
Mexico 0.9380.1161.05419.590.15519.750.1855.44-6.421700-2600None
United Kingdom [41] 1.989.40.3763.0073.3831.312.9614.260.2323.67-5.720900-13000-11.74(exprt)
India <--Page 19 Quote:"In 2006, reportedly 60 000 PV homelighting systems, 6 000 PV street lights and 27 500 solar lanterns were allocated under the government subsidy programmes. A further 300 kW of largerscale stand-alone plants and some 90 kW of PV pumps, as well as almost 200 kW of grid-connected PV were also supported by MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy). In the past, the Ministry’s programmes have typically accounted for around half of the total installed national PV capacity." Note: this may indicate an off-grid Δ of 6 MW or more, Σ to 12 MW or more, as this was the 2nd year of the Ministry’s programmesPage 24 Quote:"India (65 MW)[…]are also noteworthy module manufacturing countries."-->43.4[42] 656612120.0101700-2500
Norway [43] 37.000.350.0530.4037.540.1287.6681.62411.20800-0950None
Greece [44] 1.0490.2011.255.0811.6136.6940.6011500-190040.0-50.0
Sweden [45] 055.40.3020.3010.6134.2850.5554.840.5293.24-7.020900-1050None
Belgium 2.1032.1030.0534.1084.1610.3981000-1200
Finland 0.0640.0643.7790.2874.0660.7680800-1050
Bangladesh <--Page 18 Quote:"initial target wasto finance 50 000 SHS (solar home systems) by the end of June 2008. Thetarget was surpassed [in June 2005] […].Most active amongst the POs (partner organizations) todate is Grameen Shakti, which has financed over73 000 SHS sales (over 3,6 MW) up to May 2007.Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC)has supported sales of more than 25 000 systems,with the other POs accounting for a further 18 000systems to date." Note: this may indicate an off-grid Δ of 1.134 MW, Σ to >3.6 MW, or much more -->1.1341.1343.63.60.0231900-2100
Sri Lanka <--Page 19 Quote:"Approximately 3,6 MW of PV solar home systems(over 80 000 units) have been installed in Sri Lankato the end of 2006 [... while] almost 1 MW of PV to 21 000 households [up to the end of] 2002" Note: this may indicate an off-grid Δ of 0.65 MW, Σ to ~3.6 MW-->0.650.653.63.60.1872200-2400
Portugal 0.250.2270.4772.6910.7753.4660.3261600-2200
Denmark [46] 00.5250.
Nepal <--Page 19 Quote:"Over 60 000 solar home systems, amounting to2 MW of generation capacity, were installed in Nepalbetween 2001 and end of 2005 […] [For 2006] Fundswere set aside to support a nominal 10 000 additionalsolar home systems. By mid May 2007, almost13 000 SHS had registered for interim subsidies." Note: this should indicate an off-grid Δ of 0.333 MW, Σ to 2.333 MW-->0.3330.3332.3332.3330.0831900-2200
Israel [47] 000.2750.2751.2940.0251.3190.1834.32200-240013.13-16.40
Cyprus 0.080.440.520.450.5260.9761.1421900-2200
Czech Republic 420.2410.2410.150.6210.7710.0751100-1300
Malaysia [48] 00.004520.004520.4860.4860.0184.731950-2250None
Poland 0.0270.0870.1140.3190.1120.4310.0111100-1300
Slovenia 0.1830.1830.0980.2650.3630.1801300-1500
Hungary 0.090.0650.1550.0151300-1500
Slovakia 0.0040.0040.0640.0640.0121200-1400
Malta 0.0330.0330.0480.0480.1182100-2200
Lithuania 0.0230.0230.040.040.0121100-1300
Estonia 0.0050.0050.0080.0080.0061100-1200
Latvia 0.0010.0010.0060.0060.0031100-1300
<--Page 24 Quote:"[…]onthe annual national PV cell production tables. Taiwan accounted for a further 170 MW."-->1701700-1900
Philippines <--Page 24 Quote:"[…]the Philippines with close to 63 MW of cell production in 2006."-->631950-2250
South Africa <--Page 24 Quote:"[…]South Africa (30 MW)[…]are also noteworthy module manufacturing countries."-->301950-2250Chile
Saudi Arabia
Country or Region
Report Nat. Int.
Feed-in Tariff
Notes: While National Report(s) may be cited as source(s) within an International Report, any contradictions in data are resolved by using only the most recent report's data. Exchange rates represent the 2006 annual average of daily rates (OECD Main Economic Indicators June 2007)
Module Price: Lowest:2.5 EUR/Wp[28] (2.83 USD/Wp[49]) in Germany 2003. Uncited insolation data is lifted from maps dating 1991-1995.
PV Power (2007-June)[39] [50] IEA PVPS website.

See also

Notes and References

  1. Rwnda installs "Africa's biggest" solar plant
  2. Solar energy heats up
  3. Rajasthan's Solar Revolution
  4. Estimated medium-term(2032) potential and cumulative achievements on Renewable energy as on 30-06.2007
  5. IsraCast: Technology in Israel
  6. PV Power June 2007
  7. 154MW Victorian Project
  8.,20867,20640740-601,00.html PM turns up heat on solar power | The Australian
  9. AGO - Renewable Energy - Power Stations
  10. German PV market
  11. SunPower Announces the Opening of SOLON's Solarpark Gut Erlasse
  12. Solarpark Bavaria
  14. Plataforma Solar de Almería - Facilities and Infrastructure
  15. Building converts to solar power
  16. Solel
  17. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in The United States Of America 2006
  18. National Reports
  19. Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE)
  20. Web site: ACCIONA invests 220 million euros in a solar thermal electric power plant in Nevada (USA). 2006-02-13. 2006-10-23. Spanish.
  21. World's largest solar installation to use Stirling engine technology
  22. World's Largest Solar Energy Farm to be built in Southern California
  23. California Solar Incentive Program
  24. Roper: Business Survey
  25. Air Force takes step forward toward renewable energy
  26. PG&E Signs Agreement With Solel for 553 Megawatts of Solar Power
  27. Dr. Wissing. Lothar. Jülich, Forschungszentrum & Jülich, Projektträger. 2007-May. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Germany 2006 - Version 2. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for Germany. 2007-10-20.
  28. Bründlinger. Roland. Cowley, Paul & Watt, Greg et al. (See:Table 11 – IEA PVPS Task 1 national report authors). 2007-August. Trends In Photovoltaic Applications - Survey report of selected IEA countries between 1992 and 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - IEA PVPS T1-16:2007. 2007-11-05.
  29. Sherwood. Larry. Les Nelson, Fred Morse, Jeff Wolfe, Chris O’Brien. 2006. US Solar Industry - Year In Review - 2006. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) & The Prometheus Institute for Sustainable Development. 2007-10-20.
  30. Ikki. Osamu. Matsubara, Koji. 2007-05-25. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Japan 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for Japan. 2007-10-20.
  31. Pedigo. Susannah. Maycock, Paul D. & Bower, Ward. 2007-08-30. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in The United States Of America 2006 - Version 14. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for The USA. 2007-10-20.
  32. Watt. Muriel. 2007-May. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Australia 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for Australia. 2007-10-16.
  33. Blakers. Andrew W.. 2000. Solar and Wind Electricity in Australia. Australian Journal of Environmental Management, Vol 7, pp 223-236, 2000. 2008-02-14.  - Scholar search.
  34. Swens. Job. 2007-May. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in The Netherlands 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for The Netherlands. 2007-10-20.
  35. Guastella. Salvatore. Castello, Salvatore & Anna De Lillo. 2007-May. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Italy 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for Italy. 2007-10-20.
  36. Claverie. André. Equer, Bernard. 2007-07-15. Solar Photovoltaic Electricity Applications in France National Survey Report 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for France. 2008-03-13.
  37. Yoon. Kyung-Hoon. Kim, Donghwan & Yoon, Kyung Shick. 2007-May. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Korea 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for The Republic of Korea. 2007-10-20.
  38. Hüsser. Pius. Hostettler, Thomas. 2007-May. National Survey Report on PV Power Applications in Switzerland 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for Switzerland. 2007-12-11.
  39. EurObserv'ER. (Includes Some Discredited/Preliminary Sources). 2007-April. EurObserv’ER - Photovoltaic Energy Barometer. Systèmes Solaires - Le Journal des Énergies Renouvelables n° 178. pp. 49–70. PDF. 2007-09-07.
  40. Ayoub. Josef. Martel, Sylvain & Dr. Dignard-Bailey, Lisa. 2007-May. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Canada 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for Canada. 2007-10-16.
  41. Davidson. Sarah. 2007-October. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in the United Kingdom 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for The United Kingdom. 2008-03-16.
  42. Prometheus Institute. Preliminary Data Hearsay Reference. 2007-April. Eco-Economy Indicators: SOLAR POWER - Data - 23rd Annual Data Collection - Final. PVNews, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 8-9. 2008-04-14.
  43. Bugge. Lars. Salvesen, Fritjof. 2007-05-30. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Norway 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for Norway. 2007-10-20.
  44. Dr. Zachariou. Alexander. 2007-04-19. PV Market and Industry in the Balkans. PV Med - Presentations Day 2. 2008-03-14.
  45. Malm. Ulf. Stolt, Lars. 2007-May. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Sweden 2006. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for Sweden. 2007-10-20.
  46. Ahm. Peter. 2007-May. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Denmark 2006 - Version 04. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for Denmark. 2007-10-20.
  47. Dr. Siderer. Yona. Dann, Roxana. 2007-May. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Israel 2006 - Version 14. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for Israel. 2007-10-20.
  48. Gulabrai. Lalchand. Ruoss, Daniel; Chen, Wei-nee; Ir Ahmad Hadri Haris. 2007-April. National Survey Report of PV Power Applications in Malaysia 2006 - Version 14. IEA - PVPS Programme - NSRs for Malaysia. 2007-10-20.
  49. FRB: G.5A Release-- Foreign Exchange Rates, Release Dates
  50. EurObserv'ER. (Includes Some Discredited/Preliminary Sources). 2007-April. EurObserv’ER - Photovoltaic Energy Barometer. Systèmes Solaires - Le Journal des Énergies Renouvelables n° 178. pp. 49–70. ASP. 2007-09-07.