Clean Power

Published on February 11th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Czech Republic Has 35.5 Times More Solar Per Capita Than The Sunshine State (Florida)

February 11th, 2013 by  

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:

  1. price the pollution that comes from coal and natural gas power plants (in a perfect market, this would be adequately priced); or to
  2. 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.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Ronald Brakels

    The Czech Republic has less than half the population of Australia but has as much or more solar capacity than the whole of Australia. More than twice as much per capita. That’s just embarrassing. I will not rest until we catch up with the Czech Republic! Or I get really tired. Which ever comes first.

  • Industry influencing politics in Florida. What a system we have..


  • Amber

    Perfect soundtrack.

  • cynthia shahan

    I feel a frustrating sense or even a difficult making sense of the way that we find our state, our country in comparison to the more commonsense and human choices that other countries make and find explaining (to myself, for a paper, an article) this blind spot of so many for so long. It is confusing. It seems one could say, in regards to what one with a bit more education (and I do not mean from an institution, though I do )appreciate that educators are on top of this more at times}, or I wonder, why is it that only some strive to become educated more, some individuals do live with a smaller ‘footprint’, it appears inherently, as well. I know I was raised this way, as was Louisa May Alcott, whereas, her father one of the original Transcendentalists were the Greens in their day — already seeing the industrial age as a death trap coming on. So folks in our country have begun to see clearly long ago. I also wonder reading this article if some are simply cut from a more inherently intelligent cloth. This seems too judgement. Still a simpler mode, and lving in the Netherlands, or Europe, though in our country where are we, more Thoreau like, or more Gandhi like, in life adventure that others who are more prone to consumerism without education and conscience simply are not cut so
    much from that cloth (metaphorically). Or are the other people not demanding this, choosing this, could it be that they are caught on a spinning wheel of consumerism that keeps them too tired, too oxygen deficient. are they simply tired from a wheel that keeps them struggling to temporarily to just make it through the day?

    • Bob_Wallace

      The US has been held back by a very strong right-wing movement which started with Nixon and was greatly boosted by Reagan.

      Corporate Republicans on their own, couldn’t win elections. They didn’t have enough votes. People liked how Roosevelt and the New Deal had improved their lives.

      Nixon decided that Republicans could win elections by gathering people with “hate issues” under the tent. He started the “Southern Strategy” which brought the racists to the Republican tent. He made abortion a political issue as a way to bring conservative religious types into the party.

      Reagan made it socially acceptable to be a Republican. He created the myth of America as a country of straight, white, conservative married people.

      Gingrich took what Reagan left and turned into something truly nasty, politics won by formulating hatred of others. ‘Hate the hippies’ gave us ‘hate wind and solar’. Even hate efficiency.

      That route to control of the government seems to be breaking down very rapidly. There is no (legal) way to win the White House with white male (and compliant female) votes. Last November made it clear to most of the
      Republican power structure that the Nixon route no longer works.

      The Republican camp is in disarray. They know that they have to evolve or perish. Some of them think that all they have to do is tone down their message, but even that’s enough to stop the open hating on renewables.

      Younger voters and non-white voters just don’t buy the bullshit put out by the right wing.

      And corporate America is starting to understand that there is a lot of money to be made transitioning us from fossil fuels to renewables. And a lot of money to be saved by becoming more efficient. There will still be some resistance from fossil fuels, especially coal, over the next few years. But each year they loose power as renewable industries gain power.

      The US, I think, will now start playing catch up and I can see us pulling ahead of most other countries over the next few years.

      • cynthia shahan

        I appreciate this viewpoint, it is hopeful with educational insights. I do hope that you are right and certainly, with passionate bloggers such as cleantechnica, Planetsave, etc., providing moment to moment synergy of this energy, this energy certainly is being realized to becoming more inherent. It also appears the generations coming up and about, in spite of their particular issues, and perhaps because of them, they seem very intelligent, informed, greener and are making wiser choices, redefining material wisdom. Hope is alive.

      • globi

        Well, in Europe there are unfortunately also many politicians who say that they support renewable energies and efficiency measures, but then fight any renewable and efficiency supporting measures in the parliament. Unfortunately the media hardly holds them accountable and even worse often times just repeats whatever lobbying groups have been telling them.

        Back to topic: If I’m not mistaken PV build out in the Czech republic has been stopped. They need space for more nuclear:

        • Bob_Wallace

          I think what we’re seeing is the fossil fuel and nuclear industries realizing that they are in serious financial danger and they are fighting back, using whatever political power they have.

          Coal plants are being closed. We’ll see the first US nuclear reactor forced to close this year.

          The nuclear industry has admitted that more wind on the grid will do them in. Before long I think we’ll see them start to acknowledge that solar is taking away their profits.

        • Ronald Brakels

          The Czech Republic had a solar boom in 2009 and then crushed the solar industry by banning new solar in February 2010. In June 2012 the ban was lifted and another solar boom is taking place. In the first month over 12,000 new applications were approved. Hopefully they won’t smack it with a hammer this time.

          • interesting. i knew about the 2010 death sentence, but don’t recall reading about the June 2012 revival.

    • Otis11

      One of the biggest differences I’ve seen is that the US culture as a whole places less value on education than many of these other nations (at least the ones I am familiar with). This isn’t necessarily in the policies, but in the view of the people themselves – many Americans just force their children to go to school without explaining to them the value of what they could and should be learning. American culture values “now” more than “later” as well – making easy money now, or lower investments now and free time now at the cost of more sustainable, more informed policies.

      But that’s just from what I’ve seen.
      (BTW, I am an American who highly values education if you want to try to identify any biases I may have.)

      • Bob_Wallace

        There’s this generalization around that the first generation earns some money. The second generation turns it into a fortune. And the third generation pisses it away.

        The third generation, being born into some comfort, doesn’t fully understand the need to work and to prepare themselves for success.

        It may be that the US is now in its “third generation” following WWII when those people who had suffered through the Great Depression and WWII became very serious and hard working and took the American economy to the top. (Of course they were aided by enormous amounts of raw material and having most of Europe’s and Asia’s manufacturing capability bombed into dust.)

        Maybe, probably, our days of being #1 are over. Hopefully we’ll settle into a comfortable position of ‘one among several’ close to the top of the stack.

        So many other countries have been there, done that. I can’t think of any reason why we might not have had our turn on top and now our turn is over.

        None of that is to say that I see a bleak future for the country. If we embrace renewable energy and sustainable manufacturing we can end up with a better country than we have right now.

Back to Top ↑