Share

Tag Cloud

Bloggers

Blog

Six of the best and worst countries for solar power policy and progress

BY BROOKE NALLY
 

Though more and more countries are making efforts to switch to renewable energy sources, not everyone is on board with sustainability. The solar industry in particular has been set back by many opponents for a variety of reasons. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different countries’ solar power initiatives can help us encourage the progress of renewal energy production around the globe. 

 
Here are three examples of countries doing their part for green energy, and three examples of countries that have the potential to do more. 
 

The not-so-good

While these countries may still generate significant solar energy each year, weak policies prevent them from achieving their highest renewable energy potential. 
 

1)  United States blocks progress

Though the U.S. has made solar power production efforts, they are well below the country’s capabilities. Texas alone holds 20% of the country’s potential solar capacity, but proposals to incentivize solar power in Texas have been routinely shut down since 2005. Other sunny states have also failed to create policies that support harnessing the sun’s energy potential. The U.S. has even managed to negatively impact global solar power efforts — just this year it blocked a progressive program in India. 
 
Industry Takeaway: Get involved in local and state governments that oppose solar power, and take advantage of the opportunities in states that support solar power.
 

2)  Australia fights against solar power

Though Australia is known for year-round sunshine, the country’s solar power industry has faced many setbacks. Since Tony Abbott was elected prime minister in 2013, he has lowered renewable energy targets by 8,000 gigawatts, prohibited green energy funding, disbanded Australia’s Climate Commission, and silenced scientific representation. Though Australia is still largely powered by coal, the country saw a 1.1% increase in renewable energy in 2015 — highlighting how much more solar power could be harnessed if government policies sided with sustainability. 
 
Industry Takeaway: Solar power may not have government support in Australia, but it continues to grow with the support of the people.
 

3.  Spain charges an additional “sun tax”

Spain’s government recently approved a federal law requiring residents with solar panels to pay additional taxes. Spain’s regulations tax consumers on electricity generated from their personal solar panels, require solar panel systems under 100 kW to donate excess electricity to the grid, and ban community ownership of solar panel systems. Though Spain had previously supported solar power efforts, these new regulations — which are retroactive and effectively change the terms of previously made contracts — will likely deter many residents of Spain from pursuing solar energy.
 
Industry Takeaway: Many Spanish residents and utility companies are pro-solar power, which means they will likely continue to purchase solar panels and store energy in batteries.
 

The good

These countries have demonstrated that effective policymaking can lead to advanced solar energy industries. 

4)  Germany’s feed-in tariffs gain traction

Germany is the world’s second-leading solar producer, and though its solar programs are expensive, they have helped the country reach 38.4 gigawatts of solar capacity. The nation’s feed-in tariff (FIT) system guarantees that people who produce electricity from solar panel systems will receive compensation for 20 years. This led to so many solar panel installations that Germany’s programs needed to be reformed. Though the country remains supportive of the solar industry, it has capped total solar capacity goal at 52 gigawatts — for now.
 
Industry Takeaway: This is a great time to be involved in Germany’s solar industry as the government has expressed long-term support.
 

5)  China plans to stop air pollution

China added more than 15 gigawatts of solar capacity in 2015 — for a new total capacity of over 43 gigawatts — and is now the world’s largest solar power market. This is a direct result of strong government support for increased renewable energy production. China’s 13th Five-Year Plan set a goal for the country to triple its solar capacity by 2020. Reaching this goal should help the nation lose the title of largest carbon emitter in the world, and, along with its new Air Law, will help residents of its large cities stay healthy with better air quality. 
 
Industry Takeaway: The demand for solar power systems is growing quickly in China, and shows no sign of stopping.
 

6)  Japan builds solar panels on water

Japan is increasing its solar power capacity in an innovative way. In 2013, the country began harnessing energy through a giant offshore solar power plant, which generates enough electricity to power around 22,000 homes. Japan has since built two more floating solar power plants and has plans for a nearly 45-acre facility. This facility will supply power to almost 5,000 homes and offset more than 7,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year. 
 
Industry Takeaway: Japan is open to creative new tactics for harnessing solar power, so get involved in this growing industry.
 
Though some countries are further along when it comes to solar power, it is clear that some are not yet living up to their potential. With so many places around the globe working toward lofty renewable energy goals, it’s important to stay in the know about the latest developments we can all get behind.
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 

Brooke Nally is a solar energy specialist with Solar Power Authority.

Posted 21/07/2016 by Michelle Fisher

Tagged under: Solar , Policy , Energy , USA , China , Spain , Germany , Australia , Japan , Power , Feed-in tariff

RE: Six of the best and worst countries for solar power policy and progress
Posted 05/09/2016 by ANUMAKONDA JAGADEESH
Where does India stand, in between? Though India has drawn very ambitious plan to harness Solar energy,the progress is slow. In India in Renewables it has been high promise and low performance. Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
RE: Six of the best and worst countries for solar power policy and progress
Posted 05/09/2016 by ANUMAKONDA JAGADEESH
Where does India stand, in between? Though India has drawn very ambitious plan to harness Solar energy,the progress is slow. In India in Renewables it has been high promise and low performance. Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Comment on this blog

You must be registered and logged in to leave a comment about this blog.