With a new administration firmly in place in the U.S., solar has an exciting future ahead of it here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. In fact, solar photovoltaics are expected to grow faster than any other renewable energy source from now until at least 2050. Installed solar is expected to more than double over the next five years. In California, there are times when over half of energy demand is met by solar. We’ve got fantastic technology like bifacial panels and exciting storage solutions, not to mention work that companies like DeepGreen are doing to ensure we have the raw materials we need for renewable energy storage in the future. Even Disney is on board with solar, with a solar farm almost twice the size of Magic Kingdom consisting of half-a-million 50 megawatt solar panels right in our backyard!
So, yes, the U.S. is committed to solar. But what about the rest of the world? Let’s take a look at what our neighbors “across the pond” are up to when it comes to tapping the sun.
The “Great Wall” of Solar in China
China has set a target to be carbon-neutral by the year 2060 and has set aggressive plans to reach that target. Already the Asian country is home to some of the largest solar installations on the planet, including the 2.2-gigawatt solar farm in the northwest province of Qinghai (2nd largest solar farm in the world) and the 1.547-gigawatt “Great Wall of Solar” in Tengger Desert Solar Park in Zhongwei, Ningxia. It may not be as big, but the Panda Green Energy solar array is certainly the cutest of China’s solar parks. Shaped like a panda and looking quite a bit like Po from Disney’s Kung Fu Panda, it boasts 50 megawatts of production and is meant to inspire young people towards sustainability.
Germany leads the way
It may seem odd that a country as high on the latitude line as Germany would be a global leader in solar, but it is and will continue to be into 2021 and beyond. According to the German Solar Association, almost 10% of kilowatt-hours consumed in Germany in 2020 came from solar (the U.S. is at about 2%). The success of Germany’s solar industry is partly fueled by demand for solar by its citizens and business community. Also, decisions to phase out coal and nuclear power are lighting a solar flare under the country to move things along even faster, lest there be a gap in power generation as demand continues to grow.
Denmark is building an entire renewable energy island
The government of Denmark has approved plans for an entire artificial renewable energy island to be built 50 miles offshore in the North Sea. The proposed island will be the size of 18 football fields and will link to offshore wind turbines, producing three gigawatts of electricity in phase one and eventually phasing up to ten gigawatts. The country will no longer search for gas and oil in the North Sea, instead investing in this clean energy hub and possibly a second one in the Baltic Sea.
It’s always sunny in the United Arab Emirates
…and that’s what the government is counting on with its lofty goals of increasing renewable energy’s contribution to power generation from 7% in 2020 to 21% in 2030, and to 44% by 2050. On top of that, there are individuals hoping to make energy beautiful as well as clean. Green architect Baharash Bagherian has plans to partner with Eco Resort Group in creating wind and solar-powered biodomes in the Al Hajar mountains to keep the country’s burgeoning tourism industry from taking too hard a toll on its resources.
Tune in to Coronado Solar on Facebook and we’ll be sure to keep you apprised of all the latest solar news at home and around the world.