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Germany receives A-grade for solar power policies

Germany has received the top grade for solar power policies in the Global Solar Report Card released by Global Green USA on behalf of President Gorbachev’s Green Cross International (GCI).

Although Germany was the only country among the 16 evaluated to receive an A, Italy, Japan, Greece and China received higher grades than last year for the solar energy policies.

The aim of the report is to raise awareness among policymakers, media and the public-at-large by grading the effectiveness of each country’s solar power policies every year.

“Solar is a key strategic investment that can help combat energy poverty to create economic growth and help fight climate change,” says Matt Petersen, President and CEO of Global Green USA. “We need governments to shift subsidies for oil, gas and coal toward solar and renewable technologies to create jobs, improve the lives of those in need, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report card enables us to see which countries are doing exactly that and which countries still need to strengthen their solar programmes.”

The solar power policies report card grades 16 countries, plus California, as it is the largest solar market in the USA. Over the next year, Global Green USA intends to expand the report to include additional developing nations, as well as funding of solar by developed nations and/or removal of barriers for increasing solar in the developing world.

Highlights of the Solar Report Card

  • Only one A in Germany – Germany (A-) again got the highest grade.
  • California and Italy (B-) experienced almost 400% annual growth in installed solar power capacity.
  • Poland and Russia, with governments focused marginally on other renewable energy sources and no solar PV-specific incentives in place, once again received failing (F) grades.
  • 6 countries received higher grades relative to 2008: Italy, Japan, Greece, China, the UK and Switzerland, though for the last two countries the higher grade was the result of a new grading scheme and not new or better incentives for solar power.
  • Australia and India both fell from C to C-. Incentives are plentiful in both countries, but they often lack cohesion or long-term predictability.
  • China (despite a new programme), the UK and Canada all scored a D, suffering from a lack of incentives that are sufficient in size or scope to encourage meaningful growth.
  • Switzerland and Israel, the smallest nations evaluated, both scored a D-. Switzerland’s solar power programme offers from a lack of funding, and Israel’s programme is too limited.

The solar power policies ranking is based on a 100-point system that allocates a maximum of 30 points to the amount of solar installed so far, and the remaining 70 points to drivers for future growth (56 points for financial incentives, 12 points for regulatory incentives and 2 points for educational and advocacy efforts).

The suite of solar power incentives offered by each country is evaluated for coverage (are residential, commercial and industrial sectors included?), effectiveness (are the incentives compelling enough to adopt solar PV?), alignment (how well do the incentives work with each other?) and sustainability (when will it run out of funds?). The study also looks at solar PV capacity installed in 2008, as well as cumulative totals.

United KingdomDD-
United StatesC+C+


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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling