What is driving the global adoption of solar?

As the cost of solar installation drops, the amount of installed solar capacity is rising on a global scale. This infomap shows how different countries are responding the global challenge of reducing fossil fuel requirements based on their population. The map shows the total installed solar per capita (installed solar capacity measured in watts, divided by the population). But why are some countries doing better than others? We’ll take a look in just a moment. First, check out this solar map from expertsure.com using data from the International Energy Agency

Solar installed capacity per capita

This map is interesting because it shows that even the leading solar markets, such as China are still lagging when it comes to per capita installation. China produces the most actual power at 77.42 GW, but that’s still only 31 Watts per person, compared to 481 Watts for Germany. Let’s take a look at what’s driving the top 3 countries.


Japan is a leading PV panel manufacturing market. This gives installers and consumer access to cheaper equipment with no cross-border transportation costs. Japan also has an extremely pro-solar government, with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announcing that 70% of all new homes should be fitted with solar PV. Japan’s very healthy feed-in tariff (42 Yen/kWh for sub 10kW installations) also plays a major part in boosting installations. The weather, which provides 4.3 to 4.8 kWh/(m²·day) of insolation (solar radiation) also helps locals to produce more power.


Germany’s solar production is topping out at 6.9% of the total net electric generation for the entire country, with a total installed capacity of 40,000 MW. Again, the political system is playing a major role in the boom, with fierce targets of 50% of total electric generation to come from renewables by 2030, and 80% by 2050. Germany is clearly not playing around when it comes to the environment.


Australia has very similar targets to Germany, and it is on track to generate 80% of total power requirement from renewables by 2050. Australia has large commercial scale solar panel plants that help with total generation. They have also been under international pressure to do more with what many call a perfect climate and space for solar installations. This is driving political forces to install more capacity, like the Broken Hill commercial plant in New South Wales. Commercial solar park

Solar Power plant
Photo credit Jeremy Buckingham

With that said:

Some of the world’s powers are clearly taking a stand, but how can we push this message to the countries that are just not listening? Leave a comment below and hopefully we can make the change together.

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