Solar power by country rankings are usually based on total solar capacity and do not account for country populations and GDP. Giants such as the U.S. and China are installing thousands of megawatts of solar capacity, but how does this compare to smaller countries when population and GDP are taken into account?
To find out who is leading the world with the most aggressive solar policies and incentives, we must look at installed solar capacity in relative terms. The charts below rank countries based on their total solar power capacity compared to their relative populations and GDPs.
The data for the rankings below come from EPIA’s Photovoltaic Barometer report. Population numbers come from Internet World Stats , and GDP numbers come from the International Monetary Fund.
While Germany still tops the rankings for total solar power capacity after controlling for population size and GDP, countries such as the U.S. and China, which were in the top five for total installed solar capacity in 2012, have dropped to #20 and #28, respectively, when population size is taken into account.
Even more notable, almost all of the countries in the top ten for both charts are in Europe, which suggests that the renewable energy policies in numerous European countries are helping them become world leaders for solar power.
The U.S. may be rising in the rankings for total solar power capacity compared to smaller European countries, but when its population size and GDP are taken into account, the U.S. is much further behind.
Still, the global outlook for solar is promising. The International Energy Agency predicts global solar PV generation capacity will reach 308 GW by 2018. Even without subsidies, the continual decline of solar PV costs keeps them competitive, and the future remains bright for solar.
Charts from: CleanTechnica