Solar polar capacity has grown 100 fold since the year 2000, but not in America. Europe has embraced alternative energy in the last 20 years and to great effect, reported The Guardian.
“For the first time ever in Europe, renewables produced more power than nuclear – and solar power was key in achieving this remarkable achievement,” said Michael Schmela of SolarPower Europe, a renewable energy trade body.
Europe has become the leading adopter of renewable energies, especially solar power. Leading the expansion, Britain added 2.4 gigawatts of solar power to its domestic market. The country’s solar expansion contributed one-third to Europe’s overall growth.
“The success of the UK, set to be the largest European market again in 2015, reinforces the evidence that solar power is a versatile and cost-efficient energy source in any climate,” said James Watson, the CEO of SolarPower Europe.
Many renewable energy groups believe that the world has reached a tipping point that will help accelerate the expansion of solar technology.
In the United States, solar power grew by 30 percent last year. However, the 33 percent investment tax credit for solar power is set to expire in 2016. If the incentive expires, then the cost burden will be shifted upon developers and consumers.
Solar power made up 32 percent of America’s generating capacity in 2014, trailing Germany whose power grid is 50 percent solar power. Overall, American proponents of solar power are pleased with its growth.
“From a high-level national perspective, the market has continued to see really impressive growth” in California, Arizona, and other states.
Republicans admonish alternative energy sources in favor of gas, oil, and coal mainly because they think a transition to renewable energy will kill jobs. That outlook seems misguided considering solar energy employees thousands of people.
“Today, the U.S. solar industry has more employees than tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter combined,” said Solar Energy Industries Association CEO Rhone Resch. She then touted solar’s contribution to the national power grid.
“We now have 20 gigawatts of installed solar capacity – enough to power four million U.S. homes – and we’re helping to reduce harmful carbon emissions by 20 million metric tons a year,” said Resch.
Countries the world over have made impressive strides in phasing out fossil fuels. There is still a long way to go, however.