Who is No. 1 in Solar Energy?
Solar energy is one of the cleanest and most efficient sources of renewable energy as it does not emit pollutants and does not require the use of any resources, making it an invaluable asset in combatting climate change. With the rise of the demand for renewable energy all around the world, more and more countries are investing in the development and installation of solar energy systems in an effort to reduce the effects of global warming. Currently, numerous countries are leading the pack in the development and utilization of this form of clean energy, but who is no 1 in solar energy?
China is the Top Contributor in Solar Capacity
China is currently the world’s leader in solar energy, a title it has held since 2017. As of 2021, China boasts the world’s largest installed solar capacity with a total of 306,973 megawatts (MW) of solar energy capacity, which is more than double their former record of 130,832 MW in 2017. The Chinese government has been actively investing in solar photovoltaic (PV) development since the early 2000s, making it the leading country in the world when it comes to solar energy production. In 2021, they have dominated the solar industry with a massive 22% of the world’s total solar capacity.
Other Notable Countries in Solar Energy
Aside from China, many other countries have also been making significant strides in terms of solar energy generation and utilization, each boasting impressive records in solar energy production. The United States, for instance, is the second biggest contributor in terms of solar energy production, with a total installed capacity of 95,209 MW of solar power in 2021. This number is more than double their previous capacity of 43,115 MW in 2017.
Japan is currently in third place in terms of solar energy production, boasting 74,191 MW of installed solar capacity as of 2021. This number has risen significantly from their previous record of 49,500 MW in 2017, making it clear that Japan has been actively investing in solar energy as of late.
Germany is another notable contributor in terms of solar energy production, boasting a total installed solar capacity of 58,461 MW in 2021, up from their previous record of 42,293 MW in 2017. This number has seen a consistent rise since 2009 when Germany first began investing in solar energy, making them another key player in the global solar market.
Emerging Markets in Solar Energy
Of course, China and the previously mentioned countries are not the only ones investing in solar energy. Many other countries have also seen a rise in solar energy investments in recent years, such as India, Italy, Brazil and Australia, among others. This is mainly due to the fact that the cost of solar energy has decreased significantly in recent years, making it an attractive source of renewable energy in various emerging markets. In addition, the technological advancements made in recent years have made it much easier and more efficient to install solar panels and harness the power of the sun.
Technologies behind Solar Panels
Solar panels, or Photovoltaic (PV) installations, come in a variety of different types and sizes. They transform the incoming sunlight into electricity, which is then used to power homes, businesses and other residential areas. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline are the two main types of solar panels currently being used. Monocrystalline panels are composed of a single silicon crystal, and are the most efficient type of PV panels. Polycrystalline, on the other hand, are made up of multiple silicon crystals and are the most affordable option.
The most recent technological advancement in the solar panel industry is thin-film solar panels, which are made from thin layers of materials such as amorphous silicon. These panels are much lighter than traditional panel types, making them ideal for installations in various locations as they require less supporting materials. In addition, they are much more affordable than conventional panels, making them a great option for those looking for a budget-friendly solar power solution.
Trends in Solar Energy Production
The solar energy industry is constantly evolving, with numerous developments, trends and innovations emerging every year. One recent trend that has been garnering a lot of attention is the micro-grid approach, which is a more localised solar power solution. This method involves multiple solar panels being connected together to create a more efficient and reliable power source. In addition, the rise of solar energy storage systems is making it easier for people to store and use solar energy for later use. These systems allow people to store the energy generated from their solar panels and use it when energy needs are high or in case of an emergency.
The growth of the ‘solar + storage’ market is also making it easier for households, businesses and other institutions to take advantage of renewable energy. This approach allows people to use solar energy while having access to reliable backup energy in case of an emergency. By combining these two technologies, people can make the most of solar energy while avoiding the costly overhead associated with energy storage solutions.
Conclusion: The Future of Solar Energy
Solar energy has become the most sought-after form of renewable energy in the world, with many countries investment heavily in its production and utilization. China currently stands at the top of the list when it comes to solar energy production, with the highest installed capacity of 306,973 MW in 2021. However, many other countries are swiftly catching up, with the United States, Japan and Germany all making impressive strides in terms of solar energy production in recent years. With the ever-changing technologies and trends behind solar energy, from thin-film panels to solar + storage solutions, the future of solar energy production is certainly looking bright. It will be interesting to see which countries are able to keep up with the changes and emerge as the top leader in solar energy production in the coming decade.