Solar power was the leading source of new electricity additions in 2016, compared to natural gas, wind and other sources of electricity. The solar market around the world continues to grow as the technology develops in a race to expand solar applications. China has broken into the solar industry, and they’re making strides in technological developments and market prices. The country known for its culture and cuisine is getting a new identity in the renewable energy sector.
The U.S. invents solar technology
The United States invented photovoltaic technology (PV), which is fundamental in solar panels. Solar technology was instrumental in space exploration efforts, helping the U.S. reach the moon first. Since the initial invention, solar energy has grown into a $100 billion industry. Solar power continues to show great potential environmentally and economically. Germany and China have emerged as global solar technology leaders. Recently, China has placed a high level of emphasis on solar renewable energy. They now rank as the largest solar power generator in the world. Previously Germany held the number one spot.
Germany makes a move
Germany was able to expand their clean energy efforts because of political initiatives and public support. Investors also helped the solar movement progress in Germany. They were confident enough in government and public involvement to provide financial backing. Germany had a huge response to government promotions for solar power technology. They enlisted China’s help in order to help meet demand. This opportunity allowed China to enter the solar panel industry, where they have continued to progress and find success.
China enters the industry
China has cornered the global market in solar technology. They recognize the significance of this economic opportunity, and the government intends to pursue solar as a clean energy source. China plans to continue expanding their solar power resources every year as part of their 13th Five-Year-Plan. China has six main solar panel competitors, compared with only two major ones in the U.S.
Clean energy goals
China is known for having poor air quality and high levels of pollution. High levels of smog create dangerous conditions, disrupting air traffic, interfering with industries and contributing to health-related problems. Domestic solar installations in China have been hindered by high costs and limited space in cities, but the government is looking to change that. Costs of solar electricity continue to drop as the technology and efficiency increase. Central planners in China are demonstrating their commitment to clean energy and reducing greenhouse gases throughout the county. Solar energy is a promising solution to increase clean energy use in China and reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.
Relieve poverty with solar energy
As part of a continued effort to further solar panel development, China has started working on a solar poverty alleviation project. The goal is to increase household income in poverty-stricken regions throughout the country using solar panels. Panels would be installed on village rooftops to generate extra electricity and extra income. This renewable form of electricity would power homes, saving money on utility bills. Any surplus energy would get sold back to the grid. There is potential for additional profits from solar farm maintenance.
China has concentrated its environmental efforts toward developing solar technology and supporting the solar panel market. Typically known for its culture and cuisine, China is building an identity as a global leader in clean, renewable energy. Around the world, government policies and everyday people are promoting solar energy. This growing popularity is directly related to an increase in solar panel efficiency and decreasing costs. China is making strides, but Japan, Italy, France and countries around the world have entered the race to control the solar technology market.