The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) has reported that solar photovoltaic (PV) power increased by 16 GW in 2010 around the world, approximately double the increase seen in 2009.
Despite the continued financial crisis, falling solar prices around the world, good government subsidies (particularly in Germany and Italy), and an interest in addressing accelerated climate change helped to make 2010 such a successful year for the solar photovoltaic industry.
Cumulative solar capacity is now at 40 GW, 70% higher than the 23 GW it was at at the end of 2009.
Europe, alone, added about 13 GW of new solar power installations in 2010. Clearly, leading the world. Feed-in tariff programs in Germany and Italy, where nearly 7 GW and approximately 3 GW were added, respectively, were a major driver of 2010′s growth.
“Solar PV is continuing to develop in countries that put a feed-in tariff in place,” said EPIA economist Gaetan Masson.
Other than Germany and Italy, other countries with significant solar power growth were:
- the Czech Republic (1.3 GW)
- Japan (1 GW)
- United States (0.8 GW)
- France (0.5 GW)
- China (0.4 GW)
- Spain (0.4)
- Belgium (0.25)
- Greece (0.2)
“Solar panel prices have halved since 2007, say analysts, at about $1.8 per watt at the end of 2010 compared with $3.7 three years earlier,” Reuters reports.
Solar Power Growth in the U.S.
I reported back in October that solar power is expected to continue growing rapidly in the U.S. in the coming years. 2010 was the best year ever for the U.S. and the solar industry is the fastest-growing energy industry in the U.S., with a ton of support from the public for stronger federal and local policies supporting it. However, as we’ve had to cover too many times on Cleantechnica, until the Republican party and a handful of wayward Democrats stop blocking progress on clean energy legislation, our solar power growth cannot compare to that of other solar power world leaders. Look at the list above: the Czech Republic had almost twice as much solar power growth as the U.S.
Related Story: Solar Energy Can Provide 4.2% of U.S. Power by 2020
Photo Credit: i-sustain
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.