Solar Power Around the World: Top Countries Leading the Way

*This is a guest post by Ryan from Modernize.

Solar power has come a long way from its infancy, with technology increasing at an incredible rate and costs decreasing nearly as quickly. Residential and industrial sectors alike are seeing a rise in photovoltaic panel installations both in our own country and throughout the world. At Modernize, we see solar power as an essential part of environmentally conscious living and believe renewable sources are the future of energy use. Here are the current solar power trends around the world, both in leading and emerging solar markets.

countries leading in solar energy

Top 10: Photovoltaic capacity

As far as statistics are concerned, several countries lead the pack of the Solar Panel Guide’s list of current solar capacity.

For the first time in years, China has topped the list with 43,000 MW of photovoltaic capacity. This is due in large part to the size of the country and rapidly increasing technology, making solar power available to a much wider range of both domestic and industrial users.

Germany, which previously topped the list of solar installations, is close behind China with nearly 40,000 MW. Current news headlines and a renewable energy plan put forth by the German government, called Energiewende, suggest that Germany’s developments may well change these figures and move the country back to the top as the year continues.

The United States remains firmly in third place on the list, currently with 27,800 MW of solar capacity. However, with cities such as  Los Angeles and San Diego currently leading the American solar market, experts believe that American solar installations could potentially jump to 100 GW by 2020 and take the US to the top of the list.

The rest of the top 10 currently stands as follows:

Japan – 23,300 MW
Italy – 18,460 MW
UK – 8,400 MW
France – 5,660 MW
Spain – 5,358 MW
Australia – 4,136 MW

Belgium – 3,074 MW

Emerging economies and the developing world

Although solar power is most readily available in the above 10 countries, both emerging economies and the developing world are beginning to reap the benefits of renewable energy in new and exciting ways.

India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Pakistan are just a few of the countries in the Asia/Pacific region that are at the brink of a solar explosion as prices decrease and availability increases. Countries with larger populations could shake up the top 10 if they see a steady increase in installations over the next few years.

The same is true for emerging economies in Central and South American countries such as Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, where plans for solar farms and increased residential and industrial photovoltaic installations are currently being discussed and implemented.

While the developing world cannot currently access grid-based solar power in the same way these other countries can, there are significant resources currently in place for communities throughout Africa that change the standard of living for everyone who has access. This includes solar products such as water heaters and water purification systems, as well as standard rooftop photovoltaic panels that provide power to off-grid homes on a regular basis.

While solar power is used by communities in different financial situations in a variety of ways, it is clear to see that renewable energy is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Technology will undoubtedly continue to advance in the coming months and years, eventually making solar available to everyone around the world.

*This is a guest post from Ryan from Modernize.

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