The stat above comes from my quick analysis of the top solar power countries in the world (per capita) versus the top solar power states in the world (per capita). It’s actually based on Q3 2012 state data and Q4 2011 country data, so it gives Florida a 9-month bonus.
It’s a “fun stat” and there are many more like it that I could have chosen, but I’m simply using the stat to get to the matter of importance: why is solar power growth in “The Sunshine State” and much of the US so much weaker than solar power growth in the super grey Czech Republic, super grey Germany (Germany has over 57 times more solar power per capita than Florida.), super grey Belgium, etc?
The reason is that Florida (like much of the US) hasn’t implemented policies to:
- price the pollution that comes from coal and natural gas power plants (in a perfect market, this would be adequately priced); or to
- pay solar power producers for the full value and benefits they provide to society.
The huge majority of Americans support solar power. But we aren’t demanding it. The rich have more influence over our politicians than we do. In the energy industry, this includes the heads of fossil fuel companies and utility companies. Without strong citizen efforts to change the story, Florida remains far behind the likes of those two countries above and many, many more.
If Floridians (or other Americans) truly want solar power to be on equal footing when it comes to subsidies or pricing of electricity, then they need to organize and demand it. Otherwise, coal, natural gas, and nuclear are going to remain unfairly propped up by externalities and other subsidies.
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.