Solar Energy Dominance: A Closer Look at China’s Win
Solar energy is one of the renewable energy sources rapidly being embraced by countries across the world as a means of creating clean electricity. With a significant amount of funding going into the sector, and development of new, high-efficiency solar technologies, solar energy is now on the path to becoming one of the most popular renewable energy sources globally. In 2020, China was the undisputed leader in solar energy production and has been outdoing itself in terms of pushing the envelope of what solar can achieve. In this article, we explore the current state of solar energy, focusing on which country uses solar energy the most, as well as its major players, benefits of solar power, role of government support, and associated economic impacts.
As of 2020, solar energy was the world’s fastest growing energy source with an annual growth rate of over 45%, according to the International Energy Agency. Worldwide, solar electricity capacity grew by 24% in 2020.
China has been at the forefront of this revolution. As the world’s leading solar energy producer, China has installed more than 254,355 megawatts of solar capacity over the past two decades. This number is more than double that of the United States, the second-largest producer, which had installed only 75,572 MW as of 2020. China’s lead in solar energy is particularly impressive when you consider that the total installed solar capacity of the entire world was just over 1,013,156 MW in 2020.
The Major Solar Energy Players
Behind China’s enviable solar energy production is the country’s commitment to invest heavily in the sector. China’s vast financial resources, coupled with its highly skilled and motivated workforce, have enabled the country to quickly become a major player in the industry. As a result, China has won major contracts in solar energy production and its market share is expected to continue growing in the near future.
Benefits of Solar Power in China
China’s transition to renewable energy has been driven by a desire to reduce its use of fossil fuels, which continue to be the country’s main source of power. In addition to creating clean electricity, the widespread adoption of solar energy in the country has opened up numerous economic benefits. For example, the country is using solar panels to power its rooftops, transport vehicles, and even entire cities, such as the town of Ordos in Inner Mongolia.
Moreover, the Chinese government provides various subsidies and tax breaks to promote the use of solar energy in an effort to reduce the country’s carbon footprint. This financial support has allowed many individuals and businesses to switch to solar energy, resulting in a notable increase in solar use overall.
Other Countries Closing the Gap
Although China is currently the undisputed leader in solar energy production, other countries are also making progress in this area. The United States, for instance, is quickly becoming a major player in the solar market, and its installed solar capacity grew by 34% in 2020. Japan, too, has entered the fray and recorded a total installed capacity of 67,000 MW in 2020, making it the third-largest producer of solar energy in the world.
The Role of Government Support
The growth of solar energy in these countries has been greatly assisted by their governments’ support, in the form of laws, subsidies, and policies. For instance, in the US, the federal government is aggressively promoting the use of solar energy via various schemes, including the Solar Investment Tax Credit, which encourages individuals and corporations to invest in solar projects. In China, various government policies
The rise of solar energy has been associated with considerable economic benefits for the countries with the most solar energy. China and the US, for instance, have recorded drastic drops in the cost of producing solar electricity over the past decade due to their large investments in the sector. This has resulted in considerable savings for their citizens and businesses.
Moreover, solar energy has created numerous jobs in these countries, helping to boost their economy, while providing locals with the opportunity to work in a lucrative and sustainable sector. For instance, employment in the US solar industry surged by 8% in 2020, reaching 350,000 people nationwide, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
As it stands today, China is by far the world’s leading solar energy producer. However, other countries, including the US, Japan, and Germany, are quickly closing the gap, as evidenced by their respective investments in solar energy infrastructure and policies. Thanks to these efforts and the availability of government subsidies and incentives, the cost of producing solar energy has significantly dropped in recent years, creating numerous economic benefits for the countries that have invested most in the sector. Although there is still much room for growth, solar energy has the potential to become a major player in the global energy mix in the coming years.