Have you ever wondered which countries in the world are leading the way with solar power? The use of solar power continues to battle against the predominant use of fossil fuels, but change is in the air. Though solar has yet to go mainstream, many countries are paving the way for this renewable energy at rapid rates. It is about time. Though most of solar power installations continue to be done on the part of major utility companies for large scale commercial usage, it is only a matter of time before consumers demand this energy for home use. I am excited to see countries beginning to compete to become the leader in solarĀ  renewable energy.

Let’s take a look at the top world leaders in solar power.

  1. Germany – This country can thank its people for their number one position in the use of solar power. Germans embraced this alternative energy right from the start, and their enthusiasm and heart response has enabled Germany to take the indisputable lead. In fact, no other country can compare to their amount of solar power installations. Entire cities in Germany are now being powered solely by solar.
  2. Italy – Italy may soon grab the top position if it continues at such a vigorous rate. According to research, Italians install every 60-90 days more solar power than the entire state of California does in a whole year! Italy is seriously on the move with yearly quarter growth in excess of 100 percent. Their growth success is primarily based on an abundance of government incentives and well managed feed in tariffs. If Italy’s success with solar comes close to their cooking and wine production, they will be an exemplary leader in this field.
  3. Spain – I went to Spain in 2007, and was so impressed with their widespread solar power implementation. In spite of government subsidy delays and economic hardship, Spain is forging ahead to maximize their plentiful sunshine to become a world leader of solar power.
  4. Japan – According to studies, Japan is on track to have over 80 percent of new housing powered by solar energy by 2030. Japan stands out with not only strong government support for residential solar, but with unique designs for diverse types of solar installation. Together this combination results in Japan becoming one of the fastest growing solar markets in the world.
  5. USA – America continues to fall behind in their advancement of renewable energy. We have very poor government incentives while the majority of big cities are simply not moving forward with any future plans for solar. California remains the only state initiating solar power installation on a large scale. Though the USA saw some growth in the solar market in 2009, factors such as a weakening economy, corporate greed and consumer hardship maintain the negative affect for solar progress.
  6. Czech Republic – The Czech Republic is yet another fast growing solar market as a result of local incentives and considerable feed in tariffs. These allowed this country to have the second highest number of solar installations in 2009, and which continues to climb.
  7. Belgium – Despite the number of gray days in Belgium, the residents of this country have demonstrated a strong desire for the use of solar energy which has been equally matched by the government’s response with well designed feed in tariffs, and very appealing deals and incentives for solar installations.
  8. China – While China continues to have the largest production of solar panels, which they have also put to use, their main renewable focus is wind power. This may well be the result of their excess coal burning which reduces much of their direct sunshine. Yet, China declares their intention to deal with their pollution problems. It remains, however, one of the best countries for solar and wind investments.
  9. France – Again, we see well planned feed in tariffs which include solar power installations integrated into new building and construction. France apparently has had issues getting many of their solar installations connected to the main grid, and I imagine once they solve this problem, the French will rapidly become a strong, solar power contender.
  10. India – India is taking advantage of their equatorial location and ample sunshine with a $20 billion design for solar power provisions to their massive population by the year 2020. If they can pull this off for one billion people, there will be no more excuses for the smaller countries.

Other countries to mention include the UK and Peru.

The UK formed the company Solarcentury in 1998 which continues to grow despite feed in tariff cuts and problems. The company is situated to double its solar capacity in 2013 as well as accomplish their solar power goals by 2020.

Peru has initiated a $200 million solar power program expected to provide energy to more than two million of the country’s poorest residents by 2016. Incredibly, these residents will be getting electricity for the first time ever!