Solar power by country

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Worldwide electric capacity of solar power by technology. Total of 142 GW in 2013.[1][2]

  PV-technology (97.6%)
  CSP-technology (2.4%)
Solar PVNellis Solar Power Plant at Nellis Air Force Base in the USA. These panels track the sun in one axis.
Satellite image of one of the world's largest PV power plants, the Topaz Solar Farm, taken in 2015
CSP-Solar thermal – The 150-megawatt Andasol Solar Power Station is a commercial concentrated solar thermal power plant, located in Andalusia, Spain. The power plant uses tanks of molten salt to store solar energy so that it can continue generating electricity even when the sun is not shining.[3]
Canal Solar Power Project - a canal-top solar plant in Kadi, India

Many industrialized nations have installed significant solar power capacity into their electrical grids to supplement or provide an alternative to conventional energy sources while an increasing number of less developed nations have turned to solar to reduce dependence on expensive imported fuels. Long distance transmission allows remote renewable energy resources to displace fossil fuel consumption. Solar power plants use one of two technologies:

Worldwide growth of photovoltaics is extremely dynamic and varies strongly by country. By the end of 2014, cumulative photovoltaic capacity increased by more than 40 gigawatt (GW) and reached at least 178 GW, sufficient to supply 1 percent of the world's total electricity consumption of currently 18,400 TWh. As in the year before, the top installers of 2014 were China, followed by Japan and the United States, while the United Kingdom emerged as new European leader ahead of Germany and France. Germany remains for one more year the world's largest producer of solar power with an overall installed capacity of 38.2 GW. The newcomers of the year were Chile and South Africa, which entered straight into the world's Top 10 ranking of added capacity. There are now 20 countries around the world with a cumulative PV capacity of more than one gigawatt. Thailand, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, all crossed the one gigawatt-mark in 2014. The available solar PV capacity in Italy, Germany and Greece is now sufficient to supply between 7% and 8% of their respective domestic electricity consumption.[4][5]

After an almost two decade long hiatus, deployment of CSP resumed in 2007, with significant growth only in the most recent years. However, the design for several new projects is being changed to cheaper photovoltaics.[6] Most operational CSP stations are located in Spain and the United States, while large solar farms using photovoltaics are being constructed in an expanding list of geographic regions. As of January 2015, the largest solar power plants in the world are:

Other large CSP facilities include the 354 megawatt (MW) Solar Energy Generating Systems power installation in the USA, Solnova Solar Power Station (Spain, 150 MW), Andasol Solar Power Station (Spain, 150 MW) and the first part of Shams solar power station (United Arab Emirates, 100 MW). Other large PV power stations include the 320 MW Longyangxia Dam Solar Park in China, the 345 MW Charanka Solar Park in India, and the 166 MW Solarpark Meuro in Germany.

Global deployment figures[edit]

Find historical and recent international deployment figures of solar power in these articles:

Top 10 countries in 2015 based on total PV installed capacity (MW)[7]
China Germany Japan United States Italy United Kingdom France Spain Australia IndiaCircle frame.svg
  •   China: 43,530 MW (22.5%)
  •   Germany: 39,700 MW (20.6%)
  •   Japan: 34,410 MW (17.8%)
  •   United States: 25,620 MW (13.3%)
  •   Italy: 18,920 MW (9.8%)
  •   United Kingdom: 8,780 MW (4.5%)
  •   France: 6,580 MW (3.4%)
  •   Spain: 5,400 MW (2.8%)
  •   Australia: 5,070 MW (2.6%)
  •   India: 5,050 MW (2.6%)
Top 10 countries based on added PV capacity in 2015 (MW)[7]
China Japan United States United Kingdom India Germany South Korea Australia France CanadaCircle frame.svg
  •   China: 15,150 MW (34.6%)
  •   Japan: 11,000 MW (25.1%)
  •   United States: 7,300 MW (16.7%)
  •   United Kingdom: 3,510 MW (8.0%)
  •   India: 2,000 MW (4.6%)
  •   Germany: 1,450 MW (3.3%)
  •   South Korea: 1,010 MW (2.3%)
  •   Australia: 935 MW (2.1%)
  •   France: 879 MW (2.0%)
  •   Canada: 600 MW (1.4%)
PV Watt per Capita for 10 largest countries
1 Germany Germany 491
2 Italy Italy 308
3 Belgium Belgium 287
4 Japan Japan 271
5 Greece Greece 230
6 Australia Australia 215
7 Czech Republic Czech Republic 198
- United States United States 79
- China China 32
- India India 4
Installed Solar Power Capacity in 2015 (MW)[7]
# Nation Total Capacity Added Capacity
- European Union European Union 94,570 7,230
1 China China 43,530 15,150
2 Germany Germany 39,700 1,450
3 Japan Japan 34,410 11,000
4 United States United States 25,620 7,300
5 Italy Italy 18,920 300
6 United Kingdom United Kingdom 8,780 3,510
7 France France 6,580 879
8 Spain Spain 5,400 56
9 Australia Australia 5,070 935
10 India India 5,050 2,000
11 South Korea South Korea 3,430 1,010
12 Belgium Belgium 3,250 95
13 Greece Greece 2,613 10
14 Canada Canada 2,500 600
15 Czech Republic Czech Republic 2,083 16
16 Netherlands Netherlands 1,570 450
17 Thailand Thailand 1,420 121
18 Switzerland Switzerland 1,360 300
19 Romania Romania 1,325 102
20 South Africa South Africa 1,120 200
21 Bulgaria Bulgaria 1,021 1
22 Taiwan Taiwan 1,010 400
23 Pakistan Pakistan 1,000 600
24 Austria Austria 937 150
25 Israel Israel 881 200
26 Chile Chile 848 446
27 Denmark Denmark 789 183
28 Slovakia Slovakia 591 1
29 Portugal Portugal 454 63
30 Honduras Honduras 389 389
31 Algeria Algeria 300 270
32 Mexico Mexico 282 103
33 Turkey Turkey 266 208
34 Slovenia Slovenia 257 1
35 Malaysia Malaysia 231 63
36 Philippines Philippines 155 122
37 Hungary Hungary 138 60
38 Sweden Sweden 130 51
39 Luxembourg Luxembourg 125 15
40 Poland Poland 87 57
41 Malta Malta 73 19
42 Lithuania Lithuania 73 5
43 Cyprus Cyprus 70 5
44 Croatia Croatia 45 11
45 Finland Finland 20 5
46 Norway Norway 15 2
47 Estonia Estonia 4 4
48 Republic of Ireland Ireland 2 1
49 Latvia Latvia 2 0
World Total PV Capacity[8] 256,000 59,000

Africa[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Africa

Many African countries receive on average a very high amount of days per year with bright sunlight, especially the dry areas, which include the deserts (such as the Sahara) and the steppes (such as the Sahel).[9] 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 85% of the continent's landscape receiving at least 2,000 kWh/(m² 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.[10]

North Africa[edit]

Algeria[edit]

Morocco[edit]

Sub-Saharan Africa[edit]

Somalia[edit]

South Africa[edit]

South Africa is expected to reach an installed capacity 8,400 MW by 2030, along with 8,400 MW of wind power.[11] The country's insolation greatly exceeds the average values in Europe, Russia, and most of North America.[12]

Asia[edit]

Eastern Asia[edit]

China[edit]

Main article: Solar power in China

Solar power in the People's Republic of China is one of the biggest industries in mainland China. In 2007 China produced 1700 MW of solar panels, nearly half of the world production of 3800 MW, although 99% was exported.[13] Chinese solar panel production reportedly quadrupled between 2009 and 2011 to surpass the entire global demand. As a result, the EU accused China of dumping its solar panels in Europe at below-cost prices, involving 20 billion U.S. dollars of trade between the two powers.[14] As well, solar water heating is extensively implemented.[15] By the end of March 2015 China had an installed capacity of 33.12 GW of solar power[16] with recent announcements that a target of an additional 15GW of solar power to be installed by the end of 2015.[17] Large PV power plants in China include the 200MW Golmud Solar Park.

Japan[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Japan

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),[18] with most of it grid connected.[19][20][21] The insolation is good at about 4.3 to 4.8 kWh/(m²·day).

Japan was the world's second largest market for solar PV growth in 2013 and 2014, adding a record 6.9 GW and 9.6 GW of nominal nameplate capacity, respectively. By the end of 2014, cumulative capacity reached 23.3 GW, surpassing Italy (18.5 GW) and becoming the world's third largest power producer from solar PV, behind Germany (38.2 GW) and China (28.2 GW). Overall installed capacity is now estimated to be sufficient to supply 2.5% of the nation's annual electricity demand.[5]

South Korea[edit]

Main article: Energy in South Korea

The Sinan solar power plant is a 24 MW photovoltaic power station in Sinan, Jeollanam-do, South Korea. As of 2009, 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.[22]

Taiwan[edit]

The government has a long-term plan to make the solar capacity become 4,500 MW by 2020 and to make 7.5 million Taiwan residents to utilize solar energy by 2030. To give further incentives, the government has designated solar energy and LED industries as two industries to actively develop in the near future.

Southeastern Asia[edit]

Burma[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Burma

Philippines[edit]

In 2012, the Philippines generated a modest 1,320 MWh of solar energy.[23]

Thailand[edit]

In 2015, Thailand has more solar power capacity than all of Southeast Asia combined. Thailand's solar capacity will rise to 2,500-2,800 MW in the end of 2015 from about 1,300 MW in 2014. Thailand aims to increase its solar capacity to 6,000 MW by 2036. That would account for 9% of total electricity generation.[24]

Southern Asia[edit]

India[edit]

National Solar Mission in India
Main article: Solar power in India

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 (8,600,000 acres) 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 USD 19bn plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020.[25] 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.[26] 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.

Government of India has now revised the target by scaling up of Grid Connected Solar Power Projects from 20,000 MW by the year 2021-22 to 1,00,000 MW by the year 2021-22 under National Solar Mission[27]

According to a 2011 report by GTM Research and BRIDGE TO INDIA, India is facing a perfect storm of factors that will drive solar photo-voltaic (PV) adoption at a "furious pace over the next five years and beyond". This is evident from the fact that the generation of solar electricity has increased from 10 MW in 2010 to over 6,000 MW as of May 2016.[28] 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".[29]

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.[30] Large solar parks have also been announced in the state of Rajasthan.[31] The 40 MW Dhirubhai Ambani Solar Park was commissioned on March 31, 2012.[32] India is also exploring different ways to smartly utilize land area for generating solar power; the Canal Solar Power Project is a significant example of the same where the 19,000 km (12,000 mi) long network of Narmada canals was used to set up solar panels to generate electricity.[33][34] This project generates 1 MW [35] of clean energy per year and also prevent evaporation of 9,000 kilolitres (2,400,000 US gallons) of water annually from the canal. The project virtually eliminates the requirement to acquire vast tracts of land and limits evaporation of water from the canal.

Current total grid connected solar capacity in India stood over 8,000 MW as of 28th June 2016.

Pakistan[edit]

Pakistan has set up a solar power park, funded by the Chinese company TBEA, in the Cholistan desert near Yazman, about 30 kilometers from the eastern city of Bahawalpur. The solar project, which is set up on 5,000 acres, is producing 100 MW . Another Chinese company, Zonergy is setting up 900MW of Solar Power Plant in the same region.

The first unit was completed with a cost of 15 billion rupees in a short period of eleven months. The electricity generated by the project will be added to the national grid through grid stations and power supply transmission lines. Second phase of the park will comprise 900 MW which will be completed with the help of Chinese Government.[36] .[37] .[38]

Western Asia[edit]

Cyprus[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Cyprus

Georgia[edit]

Israel[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Israel
The Negev Desert is home to the Israeli solar research industry, in particular the National Solar Energy Center and the Arava Valley, which is the sunniest area of Israel.

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.[39][40] 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.[41] 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.[39] 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.

Jordan[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Jordan

Saudi Arabia[edit]

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, this plan was later was revised to 9.5 GW installed capacity. At the time of this announcement, Saudi Arabia had only 0.003 gigawatts of installed solar energy capacity.[42]

United Arab Emirates[edit]

In 2013, the Shams solar power station, a 100 MW Concentrated solar power plant near Abu Dhabi became operational. The US$600 million Shams 1 is the largest CSP plant outside the United States and Spain and is expected to be followed by two more stations, Shams 2 and Shams 3.[43]

Yemen[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Yemen

Europe[edit]

BedZED 2007.jpg CIS Tower.jpg
Solar panels on a 1930s semi on Barleyfields Road, Wetherby (31st May 2013).JPG
Top-left: solar panels on the BedZED development in the London Borough of Sutton. Bottom-left: residential rooftop solar PV in Wetherby, Leeds. Right: the CIS Tower was clad in building-integrated PV and connected to the grid in 2005.

European deployment of photovoltaics has slowed down considerably since the record year of 2011. This is mainly due to the strong decline of new installations in some major markets such as Germany and Italy, while the United Kingdom and some smaller European countries are still expected to break new records in 2014.[44] Spain deployed about 350 MW (+18%) of concentrated solar power (CSP) in 2013, and remains a worldwide leader of this technology. European countries still account for about 60 percent of worldwide deployed capacity of solar power in 2013.[1][2]

Eastern and Central Europe[edit]

Bulgaria[edit]

Bulgaria had seen a record year in 2012 when its PV capacity multiplied several times over to more than 1 GW. In 2013, however, further deployment came to an halt.

Czech Republic[edit]

Poland[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Poland

Romania[edit]

Romania has an installed capacity of 740.4 MW as of 2013—a 15 fold increase from 2012. Romania is located in an area with a good solar potential of 210 sunny days per year and with an annual solar energy flux between 1,000 kWh/m2/year and 1,300 kWh/m2/year. The most important solar regions of Romania are the Black Sea coast, Dobrogea and Oltenia.

Russia[edit]

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.[45]

Turkey[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Turkey

In 2014, total installed PV capacity in Turkey grew by 40 megawatts to 58 MW by the end of the year.[5]:15

Ukraine[edit]

Northern Europe[edit]

Denmark[edit]

Finland[edit]

Lithuania[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

At the end of 2011, there were 230,000 solar power projects in the United Kingdom,[46] with a total installed generating capacity of 750 megawatts (MW).[47] By February 2012 the installed capacity had reached 1,000 MW.[48] Solar power use has increased very rapidly in recent years, albeit from a small base, as a result of reductions in the cost of photovoltaic (PV) panels, and the introduction of a Feed-in tariff (FIT) subsidy in April 2010.[46] In 2012, the government said that 4 million homes across the UK will be powered by the sun within eight years,[49] representing 22,000 MW of installed solar power capacity by 2020.[46] As of April 2015, PV capacity had risen to 6,562 MW across 698,860 installations.[50]

Southern Europe[edit]

Greece[edit]

By September 2013, the total installed photovoltaic capacity in Greece had reached 2,523.5 MWp from which the 987.2 MWp were installed in the period between January–September 2013 despite the unprecedented financial crisis.[51] Greece ranks 5th worldwide with regard to per capita installed PV capacity. It is expected that PV produced energy will cover up to 7% of the country's electricity demand in 2014.[52]

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.

Italy[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Italy

As of the end of 2010, there are 155,977 solar PV plants, with a total capacity of 3,469.9 MW.[53]: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.[53]: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.[53]:30 More than a fifth of the total production in 2010 came from the southern region of Apulia.[53]:30

In December 2012, solar PV in Italy is approaching the time to 17 GW of installed capacity and provides employment to 100,000 people especially in design and installation.[54]

Portugal[edit]

A large photovoltaic power project, the Serpa solar power plant, has been completed in Portugal, in one of Europe's sunniest areas.[55] 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.[56][57]

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.

Spain[edit]

The first three units of Solnova in the foreground, with the two towers of the PS10 and PS20 solar power stations in the background.
Main article: Solar power in 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).[58] Spain is the fourth largest manufacturer in the world of solar power technology and exports 80 percent of this output to Germany.[59] Spain added a record 2.6 GW of solar power in 2008,[60] increasing capacity to 3.5 GW.[61] 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.[62] 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.[63]

Western Europe[edit]

Austria[edit]

Austria had 421.7 MW of photovoltaics at the end of 2012, 234.5 MW of which was installed that year. Most of it is grid connected.[64] Photovoltaic deployment in Austria had been rather modest for many years, while in other European countries, such as Germany, Italy or Spain installations were booming with new records year after year until 2011. The tide has turned in 2012. New PV installations jumped to more than 200 megawatt per year in Austria in an overall declining European solar market. The European Photovoltaic Industry Association forecasts, that Austria, together with other midsized countries, will contribute significantly to European PV deployment in the coming years.[65]

Belgium[edit]

In October 2009, the city of Antwerp announced that they wanted to install 2,500 m² of solar panels on the roofs of public buildings, which would be worth 265,000 kWh per annum.[66]

In December 2009, Katoen Natie announced that they would install 800,000 m² of solar panels in various places, including Antwerp.[67] It is expected that the installed solar power in the Flemish region will be increased by 25% when finished,[67] resulting in the largest installation in Europe.,[67] the total cost being 166 million euros.[68]

France[edit]

Main article: Solar power in France

Germany[edit]

Germany is the world's leader of photovoltaic capacity since 2005. The overall capacity has reached 36 gigawatts (GW) by February 2014.[69] Photovoltaics contribute almost 6% to the national electricity demands. However, the boom period has ended in 2012, and Germany's national PV market has since declined significantly, due to the amendments in the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG) that reduced feed-in tariffs and set constraints on utility-scaled installations, limiting their size to no more than 10 MW.[70]

The current version of the EEG only guarantees financial assistance as long as the overall PV capacity has not yet reached 52 GW. It also foresees to regulate annual PV growth within a range of 2.5 GW to 3.5 GW by adjusting the guaranteed fees accordingly. The legislative reforms stipulates a 40 to 45 percent share from renewable energy sources by 2025 and a 55 to 60 percent share by 2035.[71]

Germany has seen an outstanding period of photovoltaic installations from 2010 until 2012. During this boom, about 22 GW, or a third of the worldwide PV installations of that period was deployed in Germany alone.

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.

Netherlands[edit]

Switzerland[edit]

North America[edit]

Canada[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Canada

Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant near Sarnia, Ontario, was in September 2010 the world's largest photovoltaic plant with an installed capacity of 80 MWp.[72] until surpassed by a plant in China. The Sarnia 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.[73] 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.[73]

Mexico[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Mexico

Mexico was the greatest solar energy producer in Latin America until passed by Chile. 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.[74]

United States[edit]

The SEGS CSS plant in San Bernardino County, California was built in the 1980s.
U.S. President Barack Obama addressed an audience at the Nellis in May 2009.

Solar power in the United States includes utility-scale solar power plants as well as local distributed generation, mostly from rooftop photovoltaics. Installations have been growing rapidly in recent years as costs have declined with the U.S. hitting 27 GW of installed solar capacity (25.6 GW solar PV; 1.8 GW concentrated solar power) at the end of 2015.[75][76] The American Solar Energy Industries Association projects that an additional ~90 GW of solar PV will be added over the next six years, quadrupling total capacity to over 100 GW by 2021.[77]

Electrical generation has been rising in tandem with capacity as U.S. Energy Information Administration data show that utility-scale solar power generated 0.65% of total U.S. electricity in 2015, up from 0.01% in 2005.[78] This figure is even higher in certain states, already reaching 7% of generation in California for example.[79][80]

The United States conducted much early research in photovoltaics and concentrated solar power and is among the top countries in the world in deploying the technology, being home to 7 of the 10 largest utility-scale photovoltaic power stations in the world as of March 2016. The energy resource continues to be encouraged through official policy with 29 states having set mandatory renewable energy targets as of October 2015, solar power being specifically included in 20 of them.[81][82] Aside from utility projects, roughly 784,000 homes and businesses in the nation have installed solar systems through the second quarter of 2015.[83]

Oceania[edit]

A number of Pacific island states have committed to high percentages of renewable energy use, both to serve as an example to other countries and to cut the high costs of imported fuels. A number of solar installations have been financed and assisted by Japan, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. Solar farms have gone online in Tuvalu, Fiji and Kiribati.[84] UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund solar projects completed by Masdar in 2016 included: 1MW in the Solomon Islands, 500 kW in Nauru, 600 kW in the Marshall Islands, 600 kW in Micronesia and a 450 kW solar-diesel hybrid plant in Palau.[85][86] American Samoa has 2 MW of solar installed at Pago Pago Airport.[87]

Australia[edit]

Australia had over 4,100 megawatts (MW) of installed photovoltaic (PV) solar power by March 2015. The largest solar power station in Australia is the 100 MW Nyngan solar plant, which was the largest in the southern hemisphere when completed. Other significant solar arrays include the 56 MW Moree Solar Farm, the 53 MW Broken Hill Solar Plant, the 20 MW Royalla solar farm, and the 10 MWp (megawatts, peak) Greenough River Solar Farm near Geraldton, Western Australia.

A 9 MWe (megawatts, electrical) solar thermal `coal saver' system was constructed at Liddell power station. The system used `compact linear Fresnel reflector' technology developed in Australia. It provided solar-powered steam to the 600 MW black coal power station's boiler feedwater heater. By 2016, it was "effectively" closed and an effort to build a similar 40 MW solar boost at Kogan Creek coal power station was stopped.[88]

New Zealand[edit]

Solar power in New Zealand currently only generates 0.1 percent of New Zealand's electricity since more emphasis has been placed on hydroelectric, geothermal, and wind power in New Zealand's push for renewable energy. Solar power systems were installed in 42 schools in New Zealand in the Schoolgen program, a program developed by Genesis Energy to educate students in solar power. Each participating school has a 2 kW solar panel. Between February 2007 and 29 December 29, 2012, 395.714 MWh were produced.[89]

In 2010, New Zealand's largest thin film solar array was the 20 kW array installed at Hubbard Foods[90] A 21.6 kW photovoltaic array was installed in Queenstown in 2009.[91] In April 2012, New Zealand's largest solar power plant was the 68.4 kW array installed to meet 70% of the electricity needs of South Auckland Forging Engineering Ltd, which is expected to pay for itself in eight to nine years.[92][93]

South America[edit]

Several South American countries have begun installing solar power plants, including Chile and Peru.[94]

Brazil[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Brazil

Chile[edit]

Main article: Solar power in Chile

In 2014, a 100 MW photovoltaic plant located near Copiapó in the Atacama Desert was inaugurated. It was developed by Amanecer Solar CAP, and is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere until a 103 MW thin-film solar PV plant will finish construction in Australia in 2015.[95]

By the first half of 2015 Chile reached 546 MW of PV installed capacity, and 1,647 MW are under construction.[96]

Central America and the Caribbean[edit]

Central America[edit]

Several of the seven Central American countries started to install significant quantities of solar PV capacities in 2014. For 2015, record deployment is expected in Honduras (460 MW), Guatemala (98 MW) and Panama (62 MW).[97]

Caribbean[edit]

Several Caribbean islands have begun installing solar power plants, including the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Haiti and Barbados.

Dominican Republic[edit]

In the Dominican Republic, the Monte Plata Project is the largest operating solar plant in the Caribbean with an installed capacity of 33.5 MW. A planned second phase would double its capacity and would produce 51,000,000 kWh per year.[98][99]

Jamaica[edit]

In 2014, a 1.6 MW photovoltaic rooftop system at a seaside resort, located near the parish capital, Lucea in the parish of Hanover, was inaugurated.[100][101] It was developed by Sofos Jamaica,[102] and is the largest in Jamaica until a 20 MW utility-scale solar PV plant is constructed in the Parish of Clarendon in 2015.[103][104][105]

No central database yet exists with information on installed capacity but, web searches reveal media articles, press releases and vendor web pages that share some details. Based on these sources up to the middle of 2015, there was over 3.7 MW connected to the grid but, a sizeable portion of that total, including the 1.6 MW rooftop system of a seaside resort[101] and a commercial 500 kW-system in the country's capital, Kingston,[106] do not feed power back to the grid despite being interconnected.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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