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1 Solar Energy Chart Puts The USA In Its Place

One of our readers, Kanaga Gnana, sent along the following solar energy chart and tables …. in early April. I’m consistently a month or more behind on ~100 things, but figured I better get to these before they are completely out of date. They are very interesting to look at.

Also, I wasn’t sure what story to tell with these IEA charts, until just looking at them again. Have a look for yourself before I move on:

solar energy chart IEA 1 solar energy chart IEA 3 solar energy chart IEA 2

The first obvious point is that the US isn’t #1 in the solar energy market in an absolute sense — neither in annual solar energy installations or cumulative solar energy capacity. If you follow the solar industry closely (of course you do!), you’ve known about this for a long time. China’s the top dog in annual installations, and if that’s going to change, it’s likely going to be from India surpassing it.

However, this is a bit of a shocker to me — cumulative China solar energy capacity is nearly double US solar energy capacity. Granted, China is a fast-growing economy with fast-growing electricity demand, while electricity demand in the US has actually been dropping. In actuality, solar is a huge % of new electricity capacity in the US, 63% in Q1 2016 alongside 36% from other renewables.

But it’s the chart on the bottom that really puts the US in its place. The chart, as you can see, looks at installed solar power capacity relative to electricity demand (a topic I actually used to create reports on, since I’m so fond of relative rankings). The US isn’t just missing the #1 spot here — it’s almost at the very bottom. Furthermore, several other developed countries embarrass us. Italy, Greece, Germany, Belgium, and Japan top the list at ~4% and up (>7% for the top 3), while the US is below 1%.

What’s the point of the shaming? Well, for me, it’s to impress upon all of the Americans in the room (and the Canadians and South Africans, for that matter) that we have a lot of work to do to even be anywhere close to a solar installation leader, so let’s get on it!

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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