A study conducted by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) shows that Germany is the world’s leading country when it comes to grid-connected solar photovoltaic capacity, clearly besting all other nations.
Germany tops REN21’s list with 5.4 milllion kw, followed by Spain with 2.3 million kw. Japan (last year’s No.2 and the No. 1 in 2005) slipped to third place (1.97 million kw). No word on America’s rank (for some reason, REN21’s official homepage doesn’t mention the list at this point), but it doesn’t look too good as far as added capacity in 2008 is concerned.
Spain added a whopping 1.7 million kw of solar capacity last year, followed by Germany with 1.5 million kw. The US trails with 300,000 kw in this ranking (Japan’s added capacity stood at 240,000 kw). The reason for these differences is to be found in national politics. Power companies in both Spain and Germany are forced by law to purchase a certain amount of “green energy”, which is not the case in Japan and America.