Article by Premier Solar
With the favorable climatic conditions it enjoys it is surprising to see that Australia is lagging behind in the international race for solar energy capacity. As of September last year the vast country had a total of only 300 MW of energy generation through solar PV panels.
These relatively low figures when compared to other nations, is primarily because of the cost per KW of solar panels meant they weren’t as economically viable as the cost of coal produced electricity. This was up until the last couple of years, when the government stepped in with generous incentives and solar schemes to change that imbalance.
So since 2009 though Australia has made great strides in making the solar industry more professional and better regulated, and as the industry has boomed worldwide manufacturing costs have dropped considerably.
As a result of this, together with improved solar technology providing greater energy efficiency and smaller sized panels,the cost per KW of solar power has been halved and solar PV systems are much more affordable for an average family then before.
With considerable government investment support for renewable energy projects, the coming carbon tax to provide more funding for research and development, and increased investor interest in large scale solar and other projects, the country can be considered as a sleeping giant in the renewable energy field.
With it widely tipped as being one of the top growth industries in the next 10 years, the solar energy capacity of Australia is expected to climbrapidly upwards, and hopefully we will soon belong to this list of world leaders in solar energy generation;
Despite an often gloomy sky Germany is clearly the highest electricity producer from solar photovoltaic energy. With almost 17,000 MW of solar energy capacity from solar farms, the business and industrial sector and nearly a quarter of a million private solar panel systems, Germany clearly outruns any solar industry to date.
The success of the country is primarily because of the renewable energy act of 2000 which was designed to reduce the cost of solar panel systems, and improved energy efficiency from the economies of scale. With the country nearly saturated now though other younger solar countries will have the chance to emulate their success, like Australia whose government has drawn on Germany policy as a role model.
Spain is one of the most advanced nations in solar energy development, and coupled with it’snatural blessings (the country has one of the longest sun hours in Europe) it’s not surprising it his home to over 3000 MW of total solar energy capacity. The country currently holds second spot as the most installed photovoltaic in the world.
However with the recent delays and issues over government subsidies and programs, along with economic setbacks, the country is now only slowlyprogressing its solar industry and is on the verge of being outrun by other nations.
Although Japan is more likely to be known for its nuclear power plants, the truth is the Japanese alreadyhave the highest solar power capacity after Germany and Spain (over 2600 MW).
After the recent nuclear disaster as a result of a tsunami, the Japanese government is increasing its efforts to improve the solar industry instead, and develop cheaper and more efficient solar cells in the future so they can gradually replace nuclear energy.
The US solar energy capacity of 1650 MW is small for its population but expected to double within a few years as the government is now working on a state level policy and numerous large scale projects. Many of the countries major corporations are also embracing solar investments, as well as making it a priority to reduce their carbon footprints by making their buildings more energy efficient and reducing carbon emissions.
The rapid growth of the Italian solar industry has been brought about by a well-designed and segmented feed in tariff scheme that encouraged more and more residents to install rooftop solar panels.
As a result Italy holds a record for one of the biggest spurts in solar capacity in a very short period of time.
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