Solar power by country
Many industrialized nations have installed significant solar power capacity into their grids to supplement or provide an alternative to other sources. Long distance transmission allows remote renewable energy resources 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.
Germany is the world's top photovoltaics (PV) installer, with a solar PV capacity as of December 2012 of more than 32.3 gigawatts (GW).  The German new solar PV installations increased by about 7.6 GW in 2012, and solar PV provided 18 TWh (billion kilowatt-hours) of electricity in 2011, about 3% of total electricity. Some market analysts expect this could reach 25 percent by 2050. Germany has a goal of producing 35% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 100% by 2050. Large PV power plants in Germany include Senftenberg Solarpark, Finsterwalde Solar Park, Lieberose Photovoltaic Park, Strasskirchen Solar Park, Waldpolenz Solar Park, and Köthen Solar Park.
The United States has considerable solar power activity and 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.
Solar power in the People's Republic of China is one of the biggest industries in mainland China. China has over 400 photovoltaic (PV) companies and produces approximately 23% of the photovoltaic products worldwide.
On average, many African countries receive up to 325 days of sunlight per year. This gives solar power the potential to bring energy to virtually any location in Africa without the need for expensive large scale grid level infrastructural developments.
The distribution of solar resources across Africa is fairly uniform, with more than 80 percent of the African landscape receiving almost 2000 kW·h per square meter per year. A recent study indicates that a solar generating facility covering just 0.3% of the area comprising North Africa could supply all of the energy required by the European Union.
Solar power in the People's Republic of China is one of the biggest industries in mainland China. China has over 400 photovoltaic (PV) companies and produces approximately 23% of the photovoltaic products worldwide. In 2007 China produced 1700 MW of solar panels, nearly half of the world production of 3800 MW, although 99% was exported.
As well, solar water heating is extensively implemented.
Large PV power plants in China include 200MW Golmud Solar Park etc.
India is densely populated and has high solar insolation, an ideal combination for using solar power in India. In the solar energy sector, some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 km2 area of the Thar Desert has been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 GW to 2,100 GW.
In July 2009, India unveiled a US$19 billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020. Under the plan, the use of solar-powered equipment and applications would be made compulsory in all government buildings, as well as hospitals and hotels. On 18 November 2009, it was reported that India was ready to launch its National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013.
According to a 2011 report by GTM Research and BRIDGE TO INDIA, India is facing a perfect storm of factors that will drive solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption at a "furious pace over the next five years and beyond". The falling prices of PV panels, mostly from China but also from the U.S., has coincided with the growing cost of grid power in India. Government support and ample solar resources have also helped to increase solar adoption, but perhaps the biggest factor has been need. India, "as a growing economy with a surging middle class, is now facing a severe electricity deficit that often runs between 10 and 13 percent of daily need".
The Charanka Solar Park, at 214 MW the largest in the world, was commissioned on April 19, 2012, along with a total of 605 MW in Gujarat, representing 2/3 of India's installed photovoltaics. Large solar parks have also been announced in the state of Rajasthan. The 40 MW Dhirubhai Ambani Solar Park was commissioned on March 31, 2012.
There is no oil on Israeli land and the country's tenuous relations with its oil-rich neighbors (see Arab–Israeli conflict) has made the search for a stable source of energy a national priority. So Israel has embraced solar energy. Israeli innovation and research has advanced solar technology to a degree that it is almost cost-competitive with fossil fuels. Its abundant sun made the country a natural location for the promising technology. The high amount of sunshine received by the Negev Desert every year has spurred an internationally renowned solar research and development industry, with Harry Tabor and David Faiman of the National Solar Energy Center two of its more prominent members. At the end of 2008 a feed-in tariff scheme was approved, which immediately put in motion the building of many residential and commercial solar energy power station projects.
Solar power in Japan has been expanding since the late 1990s. The country is a leading manufacturer of solar panels and is in the top 5 ranking for countries with the most solar PV installed, with 4,914 MW installed at the end of 2011, making it third in the world in total solar power (behind Germany and Italy), with most of it grid connected. The insolation is good at about 4.3 to 4.8 kWh/(m²·day).
Saudi Arabia 
The Saudi agency in charge of developing the nations renewable energy sector, Ka-care, announced in May 2012 that the nation would install 41 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2032. It is projected to be composed of 25 gigawatts of solar thermal, and 16 gigawatts of photovoltaics. At the time of this announcement, Saudi Arabia had only 0.003 gigawatts of installed solar energy capacity.
South Korea 
The Sinan solar power plant is a 24 MW photovoltaic power station in Sinan, Jeollanam-do, South Korea. As of 2009[update], it is the largest photovoltaic installation in Asia. The project was developed by the German company Conergy and it cost US$150 million. It was built by the Dongyang Engineering & Construction Corporation.
The largest solar power station in Australia is the 10 MWp (megawatts, peak) Greenough River Solar Farm near Geraldton, Western Australia. 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.
In December 2009, Katoen Natie announced that they will install 800,000 m² of solar panels in various places, including Antwerp. It is expected that the installed solar power in the Flemish Region will be increased by 25%, when finished. That will be the largest installation in Europe. The total cost will be 166 million euros.
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.
Germany is one of the world's top photovoltaics (PV) installers, with a solar PV capacity as of 2011 of almost 25 gigawatts (GW). The German solar PV industry installed about 7.5 GW in 2011, and solar PV provided 18 GW·h (billion kilowatt-hours) of electricity in 2011, about 3% of total electricity. Some market analysts expect this could reach 25 percent by 2050.
The Montalto di Castro Photovoltaic Power Station is a photovoltaic power station at Montalto di Castro in Viterbo province. The project was built in several phases. The first phase with a total capacity of 24 MW was connected in late 2009. The second phase (8 MW) was commissioned in 2010, and the third and fourth phases, totaling 44 MW, were completed in December 2010.
As of the end of 2010, there are 155,977 solar PV plants, with a total capacity of 3,469.9 MW.:24 The number of plants and the total capacity surged in 2009 and 2010 following high incentives from Conto Energia. The total power capacity installed tripled and plants installed doubled in 2010 compared to 2009, with an increase of plant's average dimensions.:24
Energy production from photovoltaics was 1,905.7 GWh in 2010. Annual growth rates were fast in recent years: 251% in 2009 and 182% in 2010.:30 More than a fifth of the total production in 2010 came from the southern region of Apulia.:30
In December 2012, solar PV in Italy is approaching the time to 17 GW of installed capacity, ie more or less than 17 nuclear power plants and provides employment to 100,000 people especially in design and installation.
A large photovoltaic power project, the Serpa solar power plant, has been completed in Portugal, in one of the Europe's sunniest areas. The 11 megawatt plant covers 150 acres (0.61 km2) and comprises 52,000 PV panels. The panels are raised 2 metres off the ground and the area will remain productive grazing land. The project will provide enough energy for 8,000 homes and will save an estimated 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
The Moura photovoltaic power station is located in the municipality of Moura, in the interior region of Alentejo, Portugal.Its construction involves two stages, with the first one being constructed in 13 months and completed in 2008, and the other will be completed by 2010, at a total cost of €250 million for the project.
Current production of 5 MW is very modest, however there are plans for an expansion in capacity by 70 MW in 2012-13 in a $210 million joint project by Rosnano and Renova.
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). Spain is the fourth largest manufacturer in the world of solar power technology and exports 80 percent of this output to Germany. Spain added a record 2.6 GW of solar power in 2008, increasing capacity to 3.5 GW. 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. 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.
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.
The lack of net metering delayed the development of the market until the government in the UK agreed in April 2010 to pay for all grid-connected generated electricity at an initial rate of up to 41.3p (US$0.67) per kW·h, whether used locally or exported. The rates proved more attractive than necessary, and in August 2011, were drastically reduced for installations over 50 kW, a policy change criticized as marking "the end of the UK’s solar industry as we know it". This decision was overturned in the courts, with indexation, allowing 39.6p/kWh FIT for systems of up to 4 kW installed through the end of March 2, 2012, and 21p/kWh beginning March 3, 2012.
For larger systems, the FIT of 32.2p/kWh from April 1, 2010 through the end of July, 2011, was limited to systems up to 5 MW, with the result that no systems over 5 MW were constructed. After July, 2011, the FIT for systems over 250 kW dropped to 8.5p, (8.9p after March 31, 2011), with no limitation on system size after March 31, 2012.
Installations jumped from an installed base of 27 MW at the end of 2009 to 77 MW at the end of 2010 and to 1000 MW by February 22, 2012. 22 GW are expected by the end of the decade. Installations dropped 87% since the FIT was reduced.
North America 
United States 
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. The Solana Generating Station is a 280 MW solar power plant which is under construction about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Phoenix, Arizona.
The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm is a 550 MW solar power plant under construction in Riverside County, California, that will use thin-film solar photovoltaic modules made by First Solar. The Topaz Solar Farm is a 550 MW photovoltaic power plant, being built in San Luis Obispo County, California. 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. The Solana Generating Station is a 280 MW solar power plant which is under construction about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Phoenix, Arizona. The Agua Caliente Solar Project is a 290 megawatt photovoltaic solar generating facility being built in Yuma County, Arizona. At 250 MW (AC) as of December 2012 it is the largest photovoltaic power station in the world. The California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) is a 250 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant, which is being built by SunPower in the Carrizo Plain, northeast of California Valley.
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.
Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant near Sarnia, Ontario, was in September 2010 the world's largest photovoltaic plant with an installed capacity of 80 MWp. until surpassed by plants in China and India. The plant covers 950 acres (380 ha) and contains about 966,000 square metres (96.6 ha), which is about 1.3 million thin film panels. The expected annual energy yield is about 120,000 MW·h, which if produced in a coal-fired plant would require emission of 39,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Canada has many regions that are sparsely populated and difficult to access, but also does not have optimal access to sunlight given the high latitudes of much of the country. Photovoltaic cells are increasingly used as standalone units, mostly as off-grid distributed electricity generation to power remote homes, telecommunications equipment, oil and pipeline monitoring stations and navigational devices. The Canadian PV market has grown quickly and Canadian companies make solar modules, controls, specialized water pumps, high efficiency refrigerators and solar lighting systems. Ontario has subsidized solar power energy to promote its growth.
One of the most important uses for PV cells is in northern communities, many of which depend on high-cost diesel fuel to generate electricity. Since the 1970s, the federal government and industry has encouraged the development of solar technologies for these communities. Some of these efforts have focused on the use of hybrid systems that provide power 24 hours a day, using solar power when sunlight is available, in combination with another energy source.
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. To date, the World Bank has given US$50 million to finance this project.
Honduras in Central America is pushing through with solar water heating and solar panels, despite little or no help from the government. Although these systems represent a high cost to Central American households, companies like NRGEA are using private capital to finance the purchase of these systems to open up the market of renewables.
South America 
Below is the summary of installed photovoltaic and more detailed data for some countries.
Concentrated solar power 
|Country or Region||Total
See also 
- List of photovoltaic power stations
- List of solar thermal power stations
- Nevada Solar One
- Renewable energy commercialization
- Rural electrification
- Solar energy
- Solar power plants in the Mojave Desert
- Solar thermal energy
- Stirling Energy Systems
- Trough concentrator
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