Solar power by country

Nellis Solar Power Plant at Nellis Air Force Base in the USA. These panels track the sun in one axis.

The development of solar power by country depends on national economic incentives more than insolation.[1] 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:

  • Arrays of photovoltaic (PV) modules, mounted on buildings or ground mounted 'solar parks'
  • Solar thermal energy plants, using concentrated solar energy to make steam. The steam is converted by a turbine to electricity.



June 7, 2007 Rwanda formally opened Africa's largest solar energy plant, Kigali Solaire, on Mount Jali, 250 kW, near the city of Kigali.[2]




Government support and subsidies have been major influences in its progress.[3] India's very long-term solar potential may be unparalleled in the world because it is one of the few places with an ideal combination of both high solar power reception and a large consumer base in the same place. India's theoretical solar potential is about 5000 trillion KW·h per year (i.e. 600 TW), far more than its current total consumption. The Rajashtan government has set aside a 35,000 km² area of the Thar desert for solar power.[4]

The grid-connected solar power as of June, 2007 was 2.12 MW.[5]


In 2005, the Israeli government announced an international contract for building a 100 MW solar trough plant to supply the electricity needs of more than 200,000 Israelis living in southern Israel. The plan may eventually allow the creation of a gigantic 500 MW power plant, making Israel a leader in solar power production.[6]


As of 2004, Japan had 1200 MW installed. Japan currently consumes about half of worldwide production of solar modules, mostly for grid connected residential applications.[citation needed]

South Asia

Solar power in South Asia

South Korea

South Korea installed about 21 MW of photovoltaics in 2006, mostly because of feed in tariffs.[7]


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.[8][9]

A building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) installation of 60 kW in Brisbane (at the Hall-Chadwick building) has an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) which gives around 10–15 minutes worth of emergency power in the event of the loss of electricity supply. Any power not used by the UPS is connected to the grid and goes towards reducing the building's overall power bills.

Numerous smaller arrays have been established, mainly in remote areas where solar power is cost-competitive with diesel power.[10]



In October 2009, the city of Antwerpen 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.[11]

In December 2009, Katoen Natie announced that they will install 800,000 m² of solar panels in various places, including Antwerp.[12] It is expected that the installed solar power in the Flemish Region will be increased by 25%, when finished.[13] That will be the largest installation in Europe.[14] The total cost will be 166 million euros.[15]


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.


A portion of the Waldpolenz Solar Park

Germany is one of the world's top photovoltaics (PV) installers, with a solar PV capacity as of 2010 of almost 17,000 MW.[16] The German solar PV industry installed 7,400 MW from nearly one-quarter million individual systems in 2010, and solar PV provided 12 TW·h (billion kilowatt-hours) of electricity in 2010, about 2% of total electricity.[17] Some market analysts expect this could reach 25 percent by 2050.[18]



On April 27, 2006, GE Energy Financial Services, PowerLight Corporation and Catavento Lda announced that they will build one of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic power projects. The 11-megawatt solar power plant, comprising 52,000 photovoltaic modules, will be built at a single site in Serpa, Portugal, 200 kilometres (120 mi) southeast of Lisbon in one of Europe’s sunniest areas.[19]


Solar radiation map of 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).[20] Spain is the fourth largest manufacturer in the world of solar power technology and exports 80 percent of this output to Germany.[21] Spain added a record 2.6 GW of solar power in 2008,[22] increasing capacity to 3.5 GW.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25]

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.[26]

North America

United States

President Barack Obama addressed an audience of more than 450 people at the Nellis Solar Power Plant on May 27, 2009.

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.[27] The Solana Generating Station is a 280 MW solar power plant which is under construction about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Phoenix, Arizona.

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.[28]


Canadian development of grid-connected solar power sites is mostly in the southern part of Ontario, taking advantage of a Feed-in tariff that effectively offsets the higher capital cost of solar photovoltaic plants. As of September 2010 the Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant is the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in the world.


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.[29]


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

Total photovoltaic peak power capacity (MWp)[30][31]
Country or Region Total
 World 39,778
 European Union 29,328
 Germany 17,320
 Spain 3,892
 Japan 3,617
 Italy 3,502
 United States 2,519
 Czech Republic 1,953
 France 1,025
 China 893
 Belgium 803
 South Korea 573
 Australia 504
 Greece 206
 Canada 200
 India 189
 Slovakia 145
 Portugal 131
 Austria 103
 Switzerland 100
 Netherlands 97
 United Kingdom 72
 Israel 61
 Slovenia 36
 Mexico 28
 Luxembourg 27
 Bulgaria 18
 Malaysia 15
 Sweden 10
 Finland 9.6
 Norway 9.2
 Denmark 7.1
 Cyprus 6.2
 Turkey 6.0
Produced, installed & total photovoltaic peak power capacity (MWp) as of the end of 2010[32][30][31]
Country or Region
Report Nat. Int.
Feed-in Tariff
 World 16,735 39,778
 European Union 9.8 13,013 13,023 29,173 154.4 29,328 58.5
 Germany 5 7,406 7,411 50 17,320 17,370 212.3
 Spain 1 369 370 21.1 3,787 3,808 82.8
 Japan 4.2 986.8 991.0 98.8 3,519 3,618 28.3
 Italy 0.1 2,321 2,321 13.5 3,465 3,478 57.6
 United States 31 887 918 440 2,094 2,534 8.1
 Czech Republic 0 1,490 1,490 0.4 1,952.7 1,953 185.9
 France 0.1 719.0 719.1 29.4 1,025 1,054 16.3
 China 520.0 893.0
 Belgium 0 213.4 213.4 0.1 787.4 787.5 72.6
 South Korea 0 131.2 131.2 6.0 649.6 655.6 13.4
 Australia 3.8 379.5 383.3 87.8 483.1 570.9 25.2
 Canada 24.9 171.7 196.6 60.1 231.0 291.1 8.4
 Greece 0.1 150.3 150.4 6.9 198.5 205.4 18.2
 India 69.0 189.0
 Switzerland 0.2 25.5 25.7 4 69.6 73.6 9.7 3.0-3.5 14.7
 Netherlands 0.091 10.58 10.67 5 62.5 67.5 4.1
 Austria 0.25 19.96 20.21 3.61 48.99 52.60 6.4 3.0-3.2 26.4
 United Kingdom 0.155 6.922 7.077 0 26.4 26.4 0.4
 Mexico 2.47 0.80 3.27 23.72 1.30 25.02 0.2 4-5 <36.2
 Israel 0.5 21 21.5 2.9 21.63 24.53 3.4 3.6-5.1 12.5
 Portugal 0.2 14.25 14.45 2.841 15.03 17.87 1.7 2.1-4.2 10.3-19.2
 Malaysia 2 0.287 2.287 10 1.063 11.06 0.4 3.71 <13.5
 Slovenia 0 6.9 6.9 0.1 8.9 9.0 4.1
 Sweden 0.338 0.516 0.854 5.169 3.595 8.764 1.0 2.4-6.5 18.3-20.9
 Norway 0.32 0 0.32 8.530 0.132 8.662 1.9 11.1–14.3
 Finland 2.0 0 2.0 7.5 0.2 7.6 1.4
 Luxembourg 0 1.8 1.8 0 5.7 5.7 52.4
 Bulgaria 0 4.3 4.3 0 5.7 5.7 0.8
 Denmark 0.2 1.2 1.3 0.540 4.025 4.565 0.8 2.8-4.7 37.5
 Turkey 0.9 0.1 1 4.5 0.5 5 0.1 2.8-4.2 13.3
Country or Region
Report Nat. Int.
Feed-in Tariff

See also


  1. ^ Penni McLean-Conner (ed.) ,Energy Efficiency Principles and Practice,PennWell Corporation, Tulsa USA ISBN 978-1-59370-178-9, page 119
  2. ^ Rwnda installs "Africa's biggest" solar plant
  3. ^ Solar energy heats up India is Rapidly Developing Solar Energy via Photovoltaic & Thermal Systems
  4. ^ Rajasthan's Solar Revolution
  5. ^ Estimated medium-term(2032) potential and cumulative achievements on Renewable energy as on 30-06.2007
  6. ^ IsraCast: Technology in Israel
  7. ^ PV Power June 2007
  8. ^ 154MW Victorian Project
  9. ^ "Latest News".,20867,20640740-601,00.html. 
  10. ^ AGO - Renewable Energy - Power Stations
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ ibid
  14. ^ ibid
  15. ^
  16. ^ Wacket, Markus (February 24, 2011). "Germany to cut solar subsidies by up to 15 pct". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  17. ^ Paul Gipe (25 March, 2011). "New Record for German Renewable Energy in 2010". Renewable Energy World. 
  18. ^ Another Sunny Year for Solar Power
  20. ^ "Spain expects 3,000 MW in solar plants by 2010". Environmental News Network. September 25, 2008. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  21. ^ "Sunny Spain to Host Europe's First Large Solar Thermal Plant". Environment News Service. June 30, 2006. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  22. ^ Couture, Toby D. (February 23, 2011). "Spain’s Renewable Energy Odyssey". Greentech Media. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  23. ^ Sills, Ben (18 October 2010). "Spain's Solar Deals on Edge of Bankruptcy as Subsidies Founder". Bloomberg Markets Magazine ( Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  24. ^ Spain pioneers grid-connected solar-tower thermal power[dead link]
  25. ^ Gonzalez, Angel; Keith Johnson (September 8, 2009). "Spain's Solar-Power Collapse Dims Subsidy Model". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  26. ^ Building converts to solar power
  27. ^ Steven Mufson. Solar power project in Mojave Desert gets $1.4 billion boost from stimulus funds Washington Post, February 23, 2010.
  28. ^ David R. Baker (April 12, 2011). "Brown signs law requiring 33% renewable energy". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  29. ^ "Cumulative and Newly-Installed Solar Photovoltaics Capacity in Ten Leading Countries and the World, 2009". Earth Policy Institute. 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  30. ^ a b (XLS) BP Statistical World Energy Review 2011,, retrieved 8 August 2011 
  31. ^ a b EurObserv’ER 202: Photovoltaic Barometer
  32. ^ IEA PVPS Task 1 (2011) (PDF), Preliminary Trend Report 2010,, retrieved 16 September 2011 

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