Reaching about 28 gigawatts (GW), solar power capacity increased about 54% in 2011, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Germany and Italy led the way.
“Photovoltaic installations rose to between 26.5 and 29.4 gigawatts last year, compared with 18.2 gigawatts during 2010,” Marc Roca of Bloomberg wrote.
“The year was on the high side of even bullish estimates,” Jenny Chase of London-based BNEF wrote. “We think 2012 will be about flat, as European markets have overshot targets and spending caps and plan to rein back severely.”
Of course, a tremendous drop in solar panel prices combined with strong solar power policies in a handful of European countries led the surge.
“New spending on solar energy jumped 36 percent to $136.6 billion in 2011, outpacing the $74.9 billion put into wind power, and represented almost half of all renewable energy investment worldwide” in 2011.
No one expects 2012 to be such a good year, but who knows what’s actually in store? India is in the midst of a strong cleantech (especially solar) surge, as are several other Asian countries. And, despite policy uncertainty in the U.S., innovative companies are propelling the technology onto more roofs while utility-scale projects are also on the way.
Solar panels via shutterstock
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