Solar power by country explained

Many industrialized nations are installing significant solar power capacity in their grids as a supplement or alternative to other power sources. Long distance transmission allows remote renewable energy resources to be used to displace fossil fuel consumption. Solar power plants use one of two technologies:

Germany is one of the world's top photovoltaics (PV) installers, with a solar PV capacity as of 2011 of almost 25 gigawatts (GW). The German solar PV industry installed about 7.5 GW in 2011,[1] and solar PV provided 18 TW·h (billion kilowatt-hours) of electricity in 2011, about 3% of total electricity.[2] Large PV power plants in Germany include Senftenberg Solarpark, Finsterwalde Solar Park, Lieberose Photovoltaic Park, Strasskirchen Solar Park, Waldpolenz Solar Park, and Köthen Solar Park.

Solar power in the United States is an area of considerable activity and there are many utility-scale solar power plants. The largest solar power installation in the world is the Solar Energy Generating Systems facility in California, which has a total capacity of 354 megawatts (MW). Nevada Solar One is a solar thermal plant with a 64 MW generating capacity, located near Boulder City, Nevada. The Copper Mountain Solar Facility is a 48 MW photovoltaic solar power facility in Boulder City, Nevada. The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center is a 25 MW photovoltaic solar power facility in DeSoto County, Florida.

Solar power in the People's Republic of China is one of the biggest industries in mainland China. China has over 400 photovoltaic (PV) companies and produces approximately 23% of the photovoltaic products worldwide.[3]

The development of solar power by country depends on national economic incentives more than insolation.[4]

Africa

Many African countries receive on average 325 days per year of bright sunlight.[5] This gives solar power the potential to bring energy to virtually any location in Africa without the need for expensive large scale grid level infrastructural developments.

The distribution of solar resources across Africa is fairly uniform, with more than 80 percent of their landscape receiving almost 2000 kW·h per square meter per year. A recent study indicates that a solar generating facility covering just 0.3% of the area comprising North Africa could supply all of the energy required by the European Union.[6]

Asia

China

See main article: Solar power in China. Solar power in the People's Republic of China is one of the biggest industries in mainland China. China has over 400 photovoltaic (PV) companies and produces approximately 23% of the photovoltaic products worldwide.[3] In 2007 China produced 1700 MW of solar panels, nearly half of the world production of 3800 MW, although 99% was exported. Approximately 80 MW of photovoltaics contribute towards power generation in China. As well, solar water heating is extensively implemented. [7]

India

See main article: Solar power in India. India is densely populated and has high solar insolation, an ideal combination for using solar power in India. India is already a leader in wind power generation. In the solar energy sector, some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 km2 area of the Thar Desert has been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 GW to 2,100 GW.

In July 2009, India unveiled a 19 billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020.[8] Under the plan, the use of solar-powered equipment and applications would be made compulsory in all government buildings, as well as hospitals and hotels.[9] On 18 November 2009, it was reported that India was ready to launch its National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013.[10]

According to a 2011 report by GTM Research and Bridge, India is facing a perfect storm of factors that will drive solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption at a "furious pace over the next five years and beyond". The falling prices of PV panels, mostly from China but also from the U.S., has coincided with the growing cost of grid power in India. Government support and ample solar resources have also helped to increase solar adoption, but perhaps the biggest factor has been need. India, "as a growing economy with a surging middle class, is now facing a severe electricity deficit that often runs between 10 and 13 percent of daily need".[11]

Israel

See main article: Solar power in Israel.

There is no oil on Israeli land and the country's tenuous relations with its oil-rich neighbors (see Arab–Israeli conflict) has made the search for a stable source of energy a national priority.[12] [13] So Israel has embraced solar energy. Israeli innovation and research has advanced solar technology to a degree that it is almost cost-competitive with fossil fuels.[14] Its abundant sun made the country a natural location for the promising technology. The high amount of sunshine received by the Negev Desert every year has spurred an internationally renowned solar research and development industry, with Harry Tabor and David Faiman of the National Solar Energy Center two of its more prominent members.[12] At the end of 2008 a feed-in tariff scheme was approved, which immediately put in motion the building of many residential and commercial solar energy power station projects.

Japan

See main article: Solar power in Japan. Solar power in Japan has been expanding since the late 1990s. The country is a leading manufacturer of solar panels and is in the top 5 ranking for countries with the most solar PV installed. Japan is third in the world in total solar power (behind Germany and Spain), with most of it grid connected.[15] [16] The insolation is good at about 4.3 to 4.8 kWh/(m²·day).

South Korea

The Sinan solar power plant is a 24 MW photovoltaic power station in Sinan, Jeollanam-do, South Korea., it is the largest photovoltaic installation in Asia. The project was developed by the German company Conergy and it cost US$150 million. It was built by the Dongyang Engineering & Construction Corporation.[17]

Australia

See main article: Solar power in Australia.

The largest solar power station in Australia is a 400 kWp (kilowatts, 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 (megawatts, electrical) 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 MWp solar power station in Victoria will soon begin construction.[18] [19]

Europe

See main article: Solar power in the European Union.

Belgium

In October 2009, the city of Antwerp announced that they want to install 2,500 m² of solar panels on roofs of public buildings, that will be worth 265,000 kW·h per annum.[20]

In December 2009, Katoen Natie announced that they will install 800,000 m² of solar panels in various places, including Antwerp.[21] It is expected that the installed solar power in the Flemish Region will be increased by 25%, when finished.[21] That will be the largest installation in Europe.[21] The total cost will be 166 million euros.[22]

Greece

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. Smaller solar PV farms exist throughout the country.

Germany

See main article: Solar power in Germany. Germany is one of the world's top photovoltaics (PV) installers, with a solar PV capacity as of 2011 of almost 25 gigawatts (GW). The German solar PV industry installed about 7.5 GW in 2011,[23] and solar PV provided 18 TW·h (billion kilowatt-hours) of electricity in 2011, about 3% of total electricity.[24] Some market analysts expect this could reach 25 percent by 2050.[25]

Large PV power plants in Germany include Senftenberg Solarpark, Finsterwalde Solar Park, Lieberose Photovoltaic Park, Strasskirchen Solar Park, Waldpolenz Solar Park, and Köthen Solar Park.

Italy

See main article: Solar power in Italy. The Montalto di Castro Photovoltaic Power Station is a photovoltaic power station at Montalto di Castro in Viterbo province. The project was built in several phases. The first phase with a total capacity of 24 MW was connected in late 2009. The second phase (8 MW) was commissioned in 2010, and the third and fourth phases, totaling 44 MW, were completed in December 2010.

As of the end of 2010, there are 155,977 solar PV plants, with a total capacity of 3,469.9 MW.[26] The number of plants and the total capacity surged in 2009 and 2010 following high incentives from Conto Energia. The total power capacity installed tripled and plants installed doubled in 2010 compared to 2009, with an increase of plant's average dimensions.[26]

Energy production from photovoltaics was 1,905.7 GWh in 2010. Annual growth rates were fast in recent years: 251% in 2009 and 182% in 2010.[26] More than a fifth of the total production in 2010 came from the southern region of Apulia.[26]

Portugal

See main article: Solar power in Portugal. A large photovoltaic power project, the Serpa solar power plant, has been completed in Portugal, in one of the Europe's sunniest areas.[27] The 11 megawatt plant covers 150acres and comprises 52,000 PV panels. The panels are raised 2 metres off the ground and the area will remain productive grazing land. The project will provide enough energy for 8,000 homes and will save an estimated 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.[28] [29]

The Moura photovoltaic power station is located in the municipality of Moura, in the interior region of Alentejo, Portugal.Its construction involves two stages, with the first one being constructed in 13 months and completed in 2008, and the other will be completed by 2010, at a total cost of €250 million for the project.

Spain

See main article: Solar power in Spain. Spain is one of the most advanced countries in the development of solar energy, since it is one of the countries of Europe with more hours of sunshine. The Spanish government committed to achieving a target of 12 percent of primary energy from renewable energy by 2010 with an installed solar generating capacity of 3000 megawatts (MW).[30] Spain is the fourth largest manufacturer in the world of solar power technology and exports 80 percent of this output to Germany.[31] Spain added a record 2.6 GW of solar power in 2008,[32] increasing capacity to 3.5 GW.[33] Total solar power in Spain was 4 GW by the end of 2010 and solar energy produced 6.9 terawatt-hours (TW·h), covering 2.7% of the electricity demand in 2010.

Through a ministerial ruling in March 2004, the Spanish government removed economic barriers to the connection of renewable energy technologies to the electricity grid. The Royal Decree 436/2004 equalized conditions for large-scale solar thermal and photovoltaic plants and guaranteed feed-in tariffs.[34] In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the Spanish government drastically cut its subsidies for solar power and capped future increases in capacity at 500 MW per year, with effects upon the industry worldwide.[35]

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.[36]

North America

United States

See main article: Solar power in the United States.

Solar power in the United States is an area of considerable activity and there are many utility-scale solar power plants. The largest solar power installation in the world is the Solar Energy Generating Systems facility in California, which has a total capacity of 354 megawatts (MW). Nevada Solar One is a solar thermal plant with a 64 MW generating capacity, located near Boulder City, Nevada. The Copper Mountain Solar Facility is a 48 MW photovoltaic solar power facility in Boulder City, Nevada. The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center is a 25 MW photovoltaic solar power facility in DeSoto County, Florida.

The Blythe Solar Power Project is a 500 MW photovoltaic power station under construction in Riverside County, California. The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility is a 392 MW solar thermal power facility which is under construction in south-eastern California.[37] The Solana Generating Station is a 280 MW solar power plant which is under construction about southwest of Phoenix, Arizona.

The Desert Sunlight Project is a 550 MW solar power plant under construction in Riverside County, California, that will use thin-film solar photovoltaic modules made by First Solar.[38] The Topaz Solar Farm is a 550 MW photovoltaic power plant, being built in San Luis Obispo County, California.[39] The Blythe Solar Power Project is a 500 MW photovoltaic power station under construction in Riverside County, California. The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility is a 392 MW solar thermal power facility which is under construction in south-eastern California.[40] The Solana Generating Station is a 280 MW solar power plant which is under construction about southwest of Phoenix, Arizona. The Agua Caliente Solar Project is a 290 megawatt photovoltaic solar generating facility being built in Yuma County, Arizona. The California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) is a 250 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant, which is being built by SunPower in the Carrizo Plain, northeast of California Valley.[41]

There are plans to build many other large solar plants in the United States. Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring California's utilities to get 33 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by the end of 2020.[42]

Canada

See main article: Solar power in Canada. Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant near Sarnia, Ontario, is as of September 2010 the world's largest photovoltaic plant with an installed capacity of 80 MWp.[43] The plant covers and contains about 966,000 square metres (96.6 ha), which is about 1.3 million thin film panels. The expected annual energy yield is about 120,000 MW·h, which if produced in a coal-fired plant would require emission of 39,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Canada has many regions that are sparsely populated and difficult to access. Photovoltaic cells are increasingly used as standalone units, mostly as off-grid distributed electricity generation to power remote homes, telecommunications equipment, oil and pipeline monitoring stations and navigational devices. The Canadian PV market has grown quickly and Canadian companies make solar modules, controls, specialized water pumps, high efficiency refrigerators and solar lighting systems.[25]

One of the most important uses for PV cells is in northern communities, many of which depend on high-cost diesel fuel to generate electricity. Since the 1970s, the federal government and industry has encouraged the development of solar technologies for these communities. Some of these efforts have focused on the use of hybrid systems that provide power 24 hours a day, using solar power when sunlight is available, in combination with another energy source.[25]

Mexico

Mexico is already the greatest solar energy producer in Latin America and it is planning a solar trough based plant with 30 MW which will use a combined cycle gas turbine about 400 MW to provide electricity to the city of Agua Prieta, Sonora. The World Bank has financed this project with US$50 million.[44]

Statistics

Below is the summary of installed photovoltaic and more detailed data for some countries.

Total photovoltaic peak power capacity (MWp)[45]
Country or RegionTotal
2010
Total
2011[46]
World39,77867,350
29,32850,300
Germany17,32024,700
Spain3,8924,200
Japan3,6174,700
Italy3,50212,500
United States2,5194,200
Czech Republic1,9531,960
France1,0252,500
China8932,900
Belgium8031,500
573
Australia5041,200
Greece206550
Canada200500
India189450
Slovakia145500
Portugal131
Austria103200
Switzerland100
Netherlands97
United Kingdom72750
Israel61190
Slovenia36
Mexico28
Luxembourg27
Bulgaria18100
Malaysia15
Sweden10
Finland9.6
Norway9.2
Denmark7.1
Cyprus6.2
Turkey6.0
Ukraine0140
Produced, installed & total photovoltaic peak power capacity (MWp) as of the end of 2010[47] [48]
Country or Region
Report Nat. Int.
off
grid
Δ
on
grid
Δ
Installed
2010
off
grid
Σ
on
grid
Σ
Total
2010
Wp/capita
Total
Module
Price
$/Wp
Feed-in Tariff
USD¢/kW·h
World16,73539,778
9.813,01313,02329,173154.429,32858.5
Germany57,4067,4115017,32017,370212.3
Spain136937021.13,7873,80882.8
Japan4.2986.8991.098.83,5193,61828.3
Italy0.12,3212,32113.53,4653,47857.6
United States318879184402,0942,5348.1
Czech Republic01,4901,4900.41,952.71,953185.9
France0.1719.0719.129.41,0251,05416.3
China520.0893.0
Belgium0213.4213.40.1787.4787.572.6
0131.2131.26.0649.6655.613.4
Australia3.8379.5383.387.8483.1570.925.2
Canada24.9171.7196.660.1231.0291.18.4
Greece0.1150.3150.46.9198.5205.418.2
India69.0189.0
Switzerland0.225.525.7469.673.69.7
Netherlands0.09110.5810.67562.567.54.1
Austria0.2519.9620.213.6148.9952.606.4
United Kingdom0.1556.9227.077026.426.40.4
Mexico2.470.803.2723.721.3025.020.2
Israel0.52121.52.921.6324.533.4
Portugal0.214.2514.452.84115.0317.871.7
Malaysia20.2872.287101.06311.060.4
Slovenia06.96.90.18.99.04.1
Sweden0.3380.5160.8545.1693.5958.7641.0
Norway0.3200.328.5300.1328.6621.9
Finland2.002.07.50.27.61.4
Luxembourg01.81.805.75.752.4
Bulgaria04.34.305.75.70.8
Denmark0.21.21.30.5404.0254.5650.8
Turkey0.90.114.50.550.1
Country or Region
Report Nat. Int.
off
grid
Δ
on
grid
Δ
Installed
2010
off
grid
Σ
on
grid
Σ
Total
2010
Wp/capita
Total
Module
Price
$/Wp
Feed-in Tariff
USD¢/kW·h

See also

Notes and References

  1. Web site: German solar boom strengthens critics of subsidies. 9 January 2012. Vera. Eckert. Christoph Steitz. Reuters. 9 January 2012.
  2. Web site: German solar power output up 60 pct in 2011. 29 December 2011. Reuters. 2 January 2012.
  3. Web site: Dorn, Jonathan G.. Solar Cell Production Jumps 50 Percent in 2007. Earth Policy Institute. 2008-05-30.
  4. Penni McLean-Conner (ed.),Energy Efficiency Principles and Practice,PennWell Corporation, Tulsa USA ISBN 978-1-59370-178-9, page 119
  5. http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~ciotola/solar/asn_94nuclear.html Solar Power in Africa
  6. http://www.trecers.net/downloads/med-csp_en.pdf Report on Solar Power Potential
  7. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=chinas-big-push-for-renewable-energy China's Big Push for Renewable Energy
  8. http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSDEL104230 India to unveil 20GW solar target under climate plan
  9. Web site: India’s national solar plan under debate. Pv-tech.org. 2010-11-27.
  10. News: Nitin Sethi, TNN, 18 November 2009, 12.42am IST. 1gw solar power in 2013. Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 18 November 2009. 2010-11-27.
  11. Web site: Report Projects Massive Solar Growth in India. Steve Leone. 9 December 2011. Renewable Energy World.
  12. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Environment/Solar.html Solar Energy in Israel
  13. http://fr.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1222017430932 Bright ideas
  14. http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/mar2008/gb20080326_485582.htm?chan=globalbiz_europe+index+page_companies At the Zenith of Solar Energy
  15. http://www.iea-pvps.org/countries/download/nsr06/06jpnnsr.pdf National survey report of PV Power applications in Japan 2006
  16. http://www.epia.org/index.php?id=491 Global Market Outlook for photovoltaics until 2013
  17. http://www.exenewable.com/projectProfile.asp?id=12612 eXenewable Project Profile Page - SinAn, PV, Korea
  18. http://www.solarsystems.com.au/154MWVictorianProject.html 154MW Victorian Project
  19. News: Latest News.
  20. Web site: Auteur: ivb. Antwerpen wil 2.500 m² zonnepanelen plaatsen op stadsgebouwen - De Standaard. Standaard.be. 2009-10-29. 2012-03-10.
  21. Web site: Auteur:. Katoen Natie heeft grootste installatie zonnepanelen in Eu... - De Standaard. Standaard.be. 2009-12-05. 2012-03-10.
  22. Web site: België heeft grootste installatie zonnepanelen van Europa - Planet Watch - De Morgen. . Demorgen.be. 2012-03-10.
  23. Web site: German solar boom strengthens critics of subsidies. 9 January 2012. Vera. Eckert. Christoph Steitz. Reuters. 9 January 2012.
  24. Web site: German solar power output up 60 pct in 2011. 29 December 2011. Reuters. 2 January 2012.
  25. http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5449 Another Sunny Year for Solar Power
  26. Web site: Rapporto Statistico 2010. Statistiche sulle fonti rinnovabili. Gestore Servizi Energetici (GSE). 4 January 2012.
  27. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4009836a6026.html Major solar power plant opens in Portugal
  28. News: Portugal starts huge solar plant. 7 June 2006. BBC News. 12 November 2011.
  29. http://www.geenergyfinancialservices.com/press_room/press_releases/prs_2006_0427.pdf World's largest solar power plant to be built
  30. Web site: Spain expects 3,000 MW in solar plants by 2010. September 25, 2008. Environmental News Network. 2011-03-06.
  31. Web site: Sunny Spain to Host Europe's First Large Solar Thermal Plant. June 30, 2006. Environment News Service. 2011-03-06.
  32. Web site: Spain’s Renewable Energy Odyssey. Toby D.. Couture. February 23, 2011. Greentech Media. 2011-03-06.
  33. News: Spain's Solar Deals on Edge of Bankruptcy as Subsidies Founder. Ben. Sills. 18 October 2010. Bloomberg Markets Magazine. Bloomberg.com. 2011-03-06.
  34. http://spider.iea.org/impagr/cip/pdf/issue36solarp.pdf Spain pioneers grid-connected solar-tower thermal power
  35. News: Spain's Solar-Power Collapse Dims Subsidy Model. Angel. Gonzalez. Keith Johnson. September 8, 2009. The Wall Street Journal. 2011-03-06.
  36. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/3956801.stm Building converts to solar power
  37. Steven Mufson. Solar power project in Mojave Desert gets $1.4 billion boost from stimulus funds Washington Post, February 23, 2010.
  38. Web site: DOE Closes on Four Major Solar Projects. 30 September 2011. Renewable Energy World.
  39. Web site: Billionaire Buffett Bets on Solar Energy. Steve Leone. 7 December 2011. Renewable Energy World.
  40. Steven Mufson. Solar power project in Mojave Desert gets $1.4 billion boost from stimulus funds Washington Post, February 23, 2010.
  41. Web site: NRG Energy Completes Acquisition of 250-Megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch from SunPower. 30 September 2011. MarketWatch.
  42. Web site: Brown signs law requiring 33% renewable energy. David R. Baker. April 12, 2011. San Francisco Chronicle.
  43. http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/10/04/sarnia-enbridge-solar-farm.html Enbridge completes Sarnia solar farm
  44. Web site: Cumulative and Newly-Installed Solar Photovoltaics Capacity in Ten Leading Countries and the World, 2009. Earth Policy Institute. 2010-09-21. 2010-09-22.
  45. BP Statistical World Energy Review 2011. XLS. 8 August 2011.
  46. EPIA Market Report. PDF. 23 February 2012.
  47. IEA PVPS Task 1. 2011. Preliminary Trend Report 2010.
  48. http://www.eurobserv-er.org/pdf/baro202.pdf EurObserv’ER 202: Photovoltaic Barometer