Italy: Italy, coming in at #1 for new solar per capita, #2 for total solar per capita, #1 for new solar relative to electricity production, #1 for total solar relative to electricity production, #1 for new solar per GDP, and #3 for total solar per GDP is a clear solar power leader at the moment. Based on these metrics, I’d say it is the top solar power country in the world.
Germany: Germany gives Italy a good run for its money though. At #1 for total solar per capita, #2 for new solar per capita, #2 for total solar power relative to electricity production, #2 for new solar relative to electricity production, #2 for total solar per GDP, and #2 for new solar per GDP, it is clearly the second-best solar country according to these metrics (which I would say are the most important for ranking countries in this sector).
Czech Republic: The Czech Republic, which is apparently implementing some really sketchy retroactive changes to its solar policies, is a surprising leader in many categories. It is surprisingly #1 in total solar power per GDP! It is #4 on total solar power relative to electricity production, and it is #3 for total solar power per capita. However, as you can see, it’s installations in 2011 were minimal and it doesn’t rank high for any of the “new solar power” categories.
Belgium: Similarly, Belgium has a “surprisingly” (if you don’t follow the global solar industry closely) high ranking in several categories. #4 in total solar per capita, #3 in new solar per capita, #3 in total solar relative to electricity production, #4 in new solar relative to electricity production, #5 for total solar per GDP, and #4 for new solar per GDP.
Spain: Spain, while #4 for total installed solar PV capacity, isn’t quite the leader in this arena in relative terms. It’s #5 for total solar PV capacity per capita, not even in the top 30 for new solar PV per capita. Similarly, it’s #6 for total solar PV relative to electricity production, but #15 for new solar PV relative to electricity production, and its rankings are identical in the per GDP categories. Of course, it has made harsh cuts to its initially highly successful solar policies. Additionally, it should be noted that these rankings are for solar PV, while Spain also has a lot of concentrating solar power (CSP) installed, especially relative to other countries.
Slovakia: Slovakia was the biggest surprise leader for me. I didn’t realize it had a good solar program, but as you can see above, it was #6 for total solar per capita, #4 for new solar per capita, #6 for total solar relative to total electricity production, #3 for new solar relative to total electricity production, #4 for total solar power per GDP, and #2 for new solar power per GDP!
US, China, Japan: While leaders in absolute figures, it’s clear that the US, China, and Japan are not currently near the top of the charts relative to population, GDP, or total electricity production.
Poland: As most of you probably know, I currently live in Poland. So, it was a bit disheartening to see that it ranked dead last in every category! Notably, only countries with at least a minimum of over 1 MW of solar power were included in these rankings, and if I had changed the minimum metric a bit, Poland would just be one of the 100+ countries not on the list. Nonetheless, it’s a bit shocking that Germany leads the pack (or is at least #2) while its neighbor (of a similar size geographically, but about half the number of citizens) is so behind in this arena. Hopefully things will change soon, but I’m not seeing any signs of it yet….
Again, like with wind power, we (people in the cleantech industry) often highlight the top countries for renewable energy based on absolute number, but don’t give due attention to the relative leaders. I hope this post helps to correct that a bit.
Also, to repeat, for much more detail on individual countries, check out the Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2016 report. And, for this kind of thing for wind power, check out:
- Top Wind Power Countries Relative to Electricity Production
- Top Wind Power Countries Per Capita
- Top Wind Power Countries Per GDP
- Page 1: Top Solar Countries Per Capita
- Page 2: Top Solar Countries Relative to Electricity Production
- Page 3: Top Solar Countries Per GDP
- Page 4: Top Solar Countries in Absolute Installation Numbers
- Page 5: Commentary & Country Highlights (this page)
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.