The total amount of solar power generating capacity in the world has been growing rapidly. In 2008, there was a total of only 15 gigawatts installed world-wide. By 2012, the total was 100 gigawatts. As of this spring, there is now 1 terawatt – that’s 1,000 gigawatts – of solar power installed in the world. About a third of that total is in China, and solar power is really booming there.
Estimates are that China will install 108 gigawatts of solar capacity this year, which is about double the amount installed in 2021. Much of the growth in solar in China is in the form of rooftop solar, as opposed to utility-scale solar farms.
China is aiming to have 50% of new factory rooftops carry solar installations by 2025. By the end of next year, China’s National Energy Bureau is aiming for solar panels to cover 50% of rooftops on party and government buildings, 40% of schools, hospitals, and other public buildings, 30% of industrial and commercial buildings, and 20% of rural homes. This new initiative will drive China’s installed solar capacity to impressive levels in the coming years.
After China, the leading installers of solar energy capacity are the European Union, the United States, and Japan.
These figures are for generating capacity. What ultimately matters is solar’s share of total electricity consumption. In China and the EU, solar provides over 6% of the electricity used. In the US, that figure is about 3.5%. In Germany and Australia, solar power provides 10% of electricity needs. All these numbers will continue to go up rapidly as solar installations grow.
China Sees Rooftop Solar Take Off as New Policies Bolster Growth
Photo, posted June 17, 2022, courtesy of Nguyễn Mỹ Hoa via Flickr.
Earth Wise is a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.
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