Alternative Energy

Published on May 30th, 2009 | by Jennifer Lance


Solar Sees “Exceptional” Growth in 2008

For the year 2008, solar output and installations grew globally!  Leading the world in photovoltaic markets, almost half of all new installations globally in 2008 occurred in Spain. The United States came in third for top PV markets last year.

Image by david.nikonvscanonPV markets expand, especially in Europe

PV markets expand, especially in Europe

There are three types of solar energy:  passive heat, solar thermal, and photovoltaic energy (PV).  Photovoltaics use the sun’s energy to create electricity, and the term comes from the two Greek words “photo” meaning light and “voltaics” meaning volts.  The future of PV energy is growing worldwide.

2008 Top Ten PV Markets

  1. Spain 2,511 MW
  2. Germany 1,500 MW
  3. USA 342 MW
  4. South Korea 274 MW
  5. Italy 258 MW
  6. Japan 230 MW
  7. Czech Republic 51 MW
  8. Portugal 50 MW
  9. Belgium 48 MW
  10. France 46 MW

In 2008, the global solar output grew to 5.5 GW, more the double the 2.4 GW of 2007.  The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) projects by 2013 the global PV market could reach 22 GW!  By 2030, Greenpeace and the EPIA believe PV energy could provide electricity for 3.7 million people globally.  Furthermore, the PV market is good for the economy.  EPIA reports:

The PV industry has created more than 75.000 jobs in Europe in the last few years, the following countries have been leading this trend:

  • In Germany (the largest PV market worldwide), employment in the PV sector rose from 1.500 (1999) to over 40.000 (2007)
  • In Spain, until 2007, more than 23.000 jobs were created
  • In Italy, until 2007, 1.700 jobs were created
  • In France over 2.100 persons are today directly employed by the photovoltaic sector

The European Photovoltaic Technology Platform estimates that the PV industry has the potential to create more than 200.000 jobs in the European Union by 2020 and ten times this number worldwide.

The growing PV market is great news for the economy and the environment!  The US should look towards Spain and Germany to see how they have been able to promote the technology with “favorable policy frameworks”.  The US has a long way to go to reach the number one spot in global PV markets.

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