Germany is the leader in Solar Photovoltaic, accounting for 47% (1.328MW) of the world's market installations in 2007. In the same year, Germany generated 3.5TWh of electricity from PV Solar, satisfying the needs of around 800,000 house holds.
While the U.S. produced a whopping 85% of the world's PV Solar installations in 1980, this leadership position was lost and shrunk to a mere 8% in 2007.
Even though renewable energies still only contribute 4% to the overall energy generation capacity in Germany, the amount of renewables for electricity generation has more than tripled in the last 15 years. Especially wind power saw a dramatic increase and the PV Solar market grew 20 - 40% per year since the early 90'.
World wide solar PV installed capacities
Clearly government policies, both in Germany and in Japan, are a major reason stimulating this impressive growth. What can we learn from Germany to help us transform our own (i.e. U.S.) energy generation towards renewables? My blog "A German's perspective on renewable energy in the U.S." tries to share insights, which might help us on this path.
Quaschning, V, Erneuerbare Energien und Klimaschutz, Hanser, 2008
Quaschning, V. Regenerative Energiesysteme, Hanser, 2007