Top 5 Solar Producing Nations – TechRound

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The global community is currently grappling with an energy dilemma as conventional fuel sources like coal, oil, and gas face increased volatility due to geopolitical tensions. Despite this uncertainty, the demand for power continues to surge.

Hence, it comes as no surprise that nations worldwide are racing to bolster their renewable energy capabilities. Solar power emerges as a frontrunner in this energy transition, ranking third among renewable energy sources after wind and hydropower, with solar proving a very flexible option for both residential as well as commercial purposes (source: Electron Green). Its economic feasibility and widespread availability have fueled its remarkable expansion in recent times.

According to findings from an IRENA report, solar photovoltaic (PV) generation saw an unprecedented surge of 179 TWh last year, marking a 22% increase from the previous year. Globally, solar capacity reached 849 GW, contributing 3.6% to the global energy generation.

On a global scale, some countries outshine others in terms of solar capacity. Here are the top five solar-producing nations:

China – 430 GW

China stands as a powerhouse in solar energy, currently boasting an impressive capacity of 430 GW. The nation has deployed over 30.88 GW of solar PV systems in the first half of 2022 alone and aims to install 108 GW more within the year.

Additionally, China leads solar equipment manufacturing, investing over $50 billion in PV supply capacity since 2011, surpassing Europe’s investment tenfold. With over 80% share in solar panel manufacturing, China has achieved the milestone where subsidy-free solar power is cheaper than coal.

Furthermore, China has set ambitious targets for renewable energy in its 14th Five-Year Plan, aiming for 33% of electricity to be generated from renewables by 2025. President Xi Jinping recently announced plans to develop 1200 GW of solar and wind energy capacity by 2030.

United States of America – 141.8 GW

With 141.8 GW of solar power capacity, the USA ranks second globally. From a mere 0.34 GW capacity in 2008, the nation has made significant strides in solar energy. Currently, 3% of the US’s electricity is sourced from solar power plants.

The US possesses immense solar potential, with an area the size of Lake Michigan covered in solar panels capable of powering the entire country. Solar job opportunities have surged by 167%, indicating rapid growth in the solar market. President Joe Biden’s administration aims to achieve 100% clean energy by 2025, with solar power meeting 40% of the electricity demand.

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Japan – 84.9 GW

Japan has ascended to the third position with a cumulative solar capacity of 84.9 GW. Solar power accounted for nearly 10% of Japan’s total electricity generation last year, a significant improvement from 0.3% in 2010.

With 45% of the world’s photovoltaic cells manufactured in Japan, the country leads the global photovoltaic market. The Japanese government plans to add 20 GW of solar capacity in the next eight years to reach a target of 108 GW, intending to install solar panels in over 50% of central government and municipal buildings.

Germany – 69.1 GW

As of right now, Germany leads European nations in renewable energy, boasting a solar capacity of 69.1 GW.

Solar power contributed 10% to the country’s electricity consumption in 2021. To mitigate energy crises exacerbated by tensions with Russia, Germany is enhancing renewable energy policies and expanding solar capacity. The government recently floated a tender to develop an additional 1.5 GW of solar energy to meet escalating power demands. With a target of reaching net neutrality by 2045, Germany aims to install 215 GW of solar capacity by 2030.

India – 68 GW

India secures the fifth position with an installed solar capacity exceeding 68 GW. With abundant sunshine for over 300 days a year in most states, India possesses vast solar potential. The Indian government continually introduces policies and initiatives to promote solar adoption and reduce import dependence in the solar sector while enhancing domestic manufacturing capabilities.

The Performance Linked Initiative (PLI) scheme for High-Efficiency Solar PV panels, approved in September 2022, incentivises enterprises to sell domestically produced solar equipment, aligning with the Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-sufficient) initiative. In the first half of last year, India added 7.2 GW of solar capacity and aims to achieve 280 GW of solar power capacity by 2030.

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