Solar power has been available for over a century but it’s only in the last few decades that it has become affordable for everyone to install. Today, solar panels allow everyone from homeowners to multi-national companies to generate power from the sun, which can then be used to power anything regular coal-generated electric can. However, while solar panel costs have fallen by over 50% in the last 10 years alone, not everywhere is embracing solar with the same open arms.
This infographic details solar energy production per capita, which gives you a good idea of how much energy each country or body is producing in relation to its citizens and households.
What is a kW?
A kW or a kilowatt is 1,000 watts. You’re probably already familiar with this measurement. For example, a standard light bulb comes in 15 to 1,500 watts, which details how many watts it uses per hour. A kilowatt hour (kWh) is 1,000 watts used per hour. So, if you have a regular 60-watt bulb, you could run it for nearly 16 hours on a kWh of power. And if you have a 125-watt television, you’d have to run it for 8 hours to use a single kWh of power.
Different places in the world also use different amounts of power. For example, UK households use an average of 4,600 kWh of power every year. Canada and the USA average at almost 12,000. And, in countries like India, the average household uses just 900 kWh of power each year.
In most cases, countries with higher energy usage also produce more solar power. However, this isn’t always true.
Why Solar Panel Installation is Different Everywhere
If you look at the infographic, you’ll quickly notice that some countries have more solar installed than others. For example, China is the country with the most total installed solar power at about 43,530 MW in 2015. Other countries like Turkmenistan have as little as 3GW of solar power installed. What’s responsible for this difference?
Integration – Some countries integrate solar more quickly than others. For example, in European countries where UN mandates stipulate carbon reduction, many countries are integrating green energy measures like solar. As a result, countries like Germany, the UK, Luxembourg, and Italy are installing solar at a rapid rate. But bureaucracy still gets in the way in a lot of places.
Weather – Solar power relies on great weather. If you don’t have enough sun to generate power, solar panels are a waste of time and money. As a result, Nordic countries like Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Estonia have little motivation to install PV power. For example, while Estonia has sunny summers, the country gets as little as 1 hour of sunlight or clear daylight per day during the winter. That’s a huge drain on solar producing capacity. In the UK, you get an average of 8-16 hours of clear daylight and potential sunlight per day, making solar power much more viable.
Solar installation is on the rise and installation costs lower and solar efficiency increases. Check the infographic to see just how much solar countries are installing compared to their population.