In a recent article by the Worldwatch Institute, it was stated that 2008 was the best year ever for the solar power market with
dramatic increases in installations of solar photovoltaics (PV’s)…cumulative PV power installed worldwide jumped from 9,000 MW in 2007 to almost 15,000 MW in 2008. MW stands for Mega Watts.
The article went on to say that Europe continues to lead the market for PV’s with Europe accounting for more than 80% of the world demand in 2008. The US accounts for only 8 percent of the global demand for cumulatively installed PV capacity.
We have seen estimates of 1000 MW is enough to power between 420,ooo homes to 1,000,000 homes.
The two big countries in Europe that account for most of the PV demand is Spain and Germany. These countries have feed-in tariff systems that require utilities to buy electricity generated from solar power projects at government instituted premium guaranteed long-term prices.
These feed-in tariff systems are apparently designed to encourage adoption of renewable energy and seems to be working. However, as these programs are scaled back so seems the demand will follow as companies are less interested or cannot afford to stay profitable with the cost of PV still being higher than fossil fuel sources.
Are we as a worldwide society still not convinced to install solar as an alternative to fossil fuel based energy generation such that demand would wax and wane based on government subsidy?
And where is the US in all of this. The US has some of the best and most widely available resources to implement a wide scale solar initiative, more could be done – government subsidies are still not enough. Is the US really serious about breaking its dependency on foreign oil? From this report it doesn’t seem like it. What do you think?
Government investment in its own power infrastructure through solar and wind projects provides much needed jobs and long term economic and security protection.
For more information about this report visit: Worldwatch.org