The world produces 177,003 megawatts of electricity from solar power each year. That is enough energy to power 29 million households worldwide. Producing this energy is possible through two primary ways i.e. photovoltaic (PV) systems or concentrated solar power (CSP). Currently, 97.6% of the world’s electricity production using the sun’s energy comes from PV systems. They consist of solar panels placed on rooftops or on solar farms. Would you like to know which nations are the most using solar panels?
China produces about 43 GW of electricity each year. China is the biggest market for photovoltaic systems. In fact, the country has more than 400 companies specializing in this type of technology. In 2013, China installed more solar panels in homes and commercial centers than any other country in the world did. Presently, this country accounts for 70% of the installed solar power capacity in the world.
Germany produces 32.4 GW of electricity each year accounting for about 6-7% of its total needs when it comes to net electrical power. It has more than 1.5 million solar panel systems installed across the country making it the second-largest installer of such systems in the world after China. These systems exist on rooftops, medium commercial centers and on large-scale solar parks.
Currently, Japan ranks at number four worldwide when it comes to energy consumption. However, its reliance on nuclear energy to supplement is electricity generation needs is no longer viable because of the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011. Solar energy is now becoming a good alternative to the precarious reliance on nuclear energy. In both 2013 and 2014, Japan was the leading market in growth for solar panels systems after China. It now produces more than 34.15 GW of electrical power through solar energy.
The United States
The US produces 25 GW of electricity from photovoltaic systems with most of them being rooftop solar panels. The United States also has an addition 1.8 GW of electricity produced through CSP. It is important to note that solar power is now a significant source of employment for many US citizens working in the energy sector. In fact, it employs more people than other critical sectors such as gas, coal, and oil industries.
Italy closed all its nuclear plants in 1990 forcing it to look for new source of renewable energy. Solar power seemed like a viable alternative. Today, solar energy accounts for 7% of the electricity produced in Italy. This electrical power amounted to 18 GW in 2013. Solar energy is also critical to this nation because it employs many people. More specifically, it employs more than 100,000 people who work on the design and installation of solar panels.
Nuclear energy accounts for a huge proportion of the electricity generated in France, but solar systems are now making their mark on the French economy. France could generate 4 GW of electricity annually through photovoltaic systems a few years ago. However, the country added 1.115 GW in 2012, 613 MW in 2013, and 223.22 MW in 2015. Right now, France can generate at least 5.399 GW of electricity annually from solar panels.
Other notable users of solar panels include Spain, Australia, Belgium, and South Korea. These countries generate 5.3 GW, 4.12 GW, 3.156 GW, and 2.398 GW of electricity each year respectively.