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The fast development of solar technology is lowering the barrier to entry for the solar energy market. While the solar industry has already expanded significantly, there is still a lot of room for expansion.
According to the International Energy Agency, solar photovoltaic (PV) generation has been on the rise worldwide for a number of years and is expected to have the second-largest absolute generation growth of all renewable technologies in 2020, behind only wind and ahead of only hydropower (IEA). Global rooftop solar PV installations are forecast to increase to over 95 GW by 2025, up from 59 GW in 2018, according to a new study by the United States Energy Information Administration.
Several factors may contribute to low residential adoption rates around the globe and inside the United States. Irradiance, or how much sunshine an area receives, might make solar power less attractive in certain places. On the other hand, if energy costs are low to begin with, going solar may be more costly than using the grid, especially if there are no incentives to do so.
Lastly, the residential structures in a nation may not be able to support solar panels because of their age or design.
The focus of this paper is to examine the home solar adoption rates in various countries to better understand the future of this sector.
U.S. Leads North America
In terms of installed solar capacity, the United States dominates North America (see Figure 1). If the average domestic solar system is 5 kilowatts (kW), then the total residential solar installation capacity is around 22,151 MW, and the overall residential solar adoption rate is approximately 3% (kW). However, because the United States is so large, let's focus on a few states to get a more regionally accurate picture of adoption rates.Using data on the total number of houses from the 2020 U.S. Census and the number of solar houses from a variety of sources, the proportion of solar homes in eight U.S. states is shown in the table below (Figure 2).
Several variables, including climate, incentives, utility rate plans, housing prevalence, and others, contribute to the wide range in residential adoption rates throughout the country. In the case of Hawaii, for example, the state depends significantly on imported energy, which drives up power bills. As a result, Hawaii is relying on solar power to generate its own energy at a far more reasonable price. However, the low power costs in Florida are a major contributor to the state's low residential adoption rates because of the longer payback periods for homeowners. Payback times for residential solar systems are reduced because of California's outstanding solar potential, high power prices, and incentives.
The amount of solar power that has been installed in Canada is among the lowest on the whole continent. One explanation for this is that the typical Canadian spends less time inside due to the weather and more time outside due to the average amount of sunshine they get each year. The typical photovoltaic system generates 3.8 kWh/kWp (kilowatt-hours per kilowatt-peak electricity). However, due to Canada's vast size, the amount of daylight that each city receives varies. As in certain places of the United States with low power rates, it may not be worthwhile for every home to install a solar energy system.
Canada has instead developed large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) farms to provide clean electricity for domestic use. Ontario is home to more than 96% of Canada's solar capacity. In 2020, Canada added 70 MW of solar and aims to continue to enhance its solar capacity, bringing the country's total solar contribution to 0.5 percent. Plans for solar energy in Canada by the year 2050
When it comes to installed solar power, Germany dominates throughout Europe. Germany has a relatively high penetration of household solar systems and solar firms due to its long history of supporting and incentivizing solar deployments.
An estimated 11.7 million single- and multi-family homes in Germany are good candidates for solar panels, and by the end of 2020, it is expected that more than 1.3 million will have been installed. Thus, the adoption rate among households is almost 11 percent.
Around 7 million solar photovoltaic (PV) systems were built in Italy between 2009 and 2020. Three million home solar panels were installed between 2016 and 2020. With a total of around 26 million homes, Italy's solar adoption rate is somewhere around 23%.
There are over 8 million homes in the Netherlands, and about 1.3 million of them have solar panels. This equates to an approximately 16% adoption rate across households.
Despite its reputation for overcast skies, the United Kingdom ranks third in the world for the percentage of its electricity that is produced by solar power. There are over 1 million residences that have solar panels installed, and the total installed solar capacity from 2010 to 2020 was around 86 gigawatts (GW). The residential adoption rate in the UK is around 4% if we split that number by the 25 million houses there.
Africa receives more sunshine than any other continent, making it the warmest on Earth. As a result, solar power has tremendous potential for energy production. However, many African nations are still growing, so switching to solar power may not make economic sense.
As of the end of 2021, South Africa will have a cumulative solar capacity of 4,172 MW. More than 80% of the solar capacity is made up of large-scale PV, whereas only 20% is made up of residential systems. Despite solar's low cost, its uptake in homes has been slow.
70% of low-income homes utilize non-renewable energy sources (such as wood and paraffin) to meet their minimum energy requirements, despite the fact that many of these households depend on electricity subsidies from the government, such as getting 50 kWh of free electricity per month.
Chinese solar manufacturer JA Solar is partnering with a South African builder to provide off-grid PV kit systems for installation on the rooftops of affordable homes in order to meet the electrical demands of residents.
Brazil, like many African nations, is a developing nation, but it has made more strides in the solar business than Africa has. About 480,000 households in Brazil have solar panels installed, and the country is home to about 4,000 solar power facilities. To arrive at this figure, the IEA took into account the 2.4 GW of residential capacity that was constructed between 2017 and 2021. In Brazil, the standard size for a home solar power installation is 5 kilowatts. Because of the country's massive housing stock, which numbers in the hundreds of millions, residential adoption in Brazil is less than 1%. The residential adoption rate is now projected at 30%, but this might rise to 40% if it is projected that 29 million residential units will be ready to have solar panels placed on their roofs by 2026.
With 31% of the world's solar capacity, China is the largest contributor. On the other hand, much of this energy is generated by massive solar power plants. In reality, China is home to some of the world's largest solar farms. But there is still a way to go before solar panels can be installed in every American home.
At least 20% of all residential roofs in 25 provincial-level areas are expected to be fitted with solar by 2020, according to a paper produced by the National Energy Administration, which calls for a pilot program to boost rooftop solar projects. With the support of this initiative, China may attain a peak in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
Japan has certain obstacles to the widespread use of domestic solar power. Japan is about the same size as California or Sweden, yet it has three times the population of either of those states. Japan has resorted to apartment buildings as a means of housing its populace. More than 62 million homes were on the market in 2018, with apartments making up around 44 percent of all inhabited properties. Installing solar panels may be more of a hassle on apartment buildings, which make up around half of all dwellings, than on single-family homes. The need to make structures earthquake-safe just adds to the difficulty.
But the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry has issued research suggesting that 370 GW of solar power may be necessary to achieve the objective of zero carbon emissions by 2050. To achieve this capacity, solar panels will have to be standard in all new homes and apartments constructed from 2040 forward. If you want to learn more about Japan's plan to become carbon neutral, check out this study.
Australia has the highest domestic adoption rate. Australia has over 9 million homes, and 2.8 million of them have solar panels installed. Since then, solar energy has been embraced by 31% of all residences.
On the other hand, Australia has no plans to stop there. The government of Australia has set a goal of having solar panels placed on 50 percent of households by the early 2030s in an effort to lessen reliance on coal-generated electricity.
In spite of the progress made toward widespread domestic solar energy adoption, more work remains to be done in many nations. At the present time, Australia has the highest domestic adoption rate in the world, at 31%.
We've done the math to give you an idea of the broader picture if the aforementioned nations all adopted at the same pace. Estimates put the household solar capacity at over 456 GW, with more than 91 million residences having solar panels installed.
A full 100% uptake would need 1,473 GW of electricity and 295 million homes. That's the same as removing 1.86 billion automobiles off the road and offsetting their carbon output by planting 30 billion trees.
The environmental and financial benefits to homeowners would be substantial. The potential is significantly bigger if we include all nations in the world in addition to those included in the preceding estimates. The potential becomes much higher if we connect commercial structures.
The cost of solar energy continues to fall, making it the most cost-effective energy source in the world. As governments adopt plans for increasing renewable energy in their mix, it’s apparent that rooftop solar is going to play a key role. Even in nations like Australia, which already have a significant penetration of solar energy, there is a huge opportunity for expansion based on this examination of adoption rates.
Which nation has the most private solar installations?
With 31% of the world's solar capacity, China is the largest contributor. On the other hand, much of this energy is generated by massive solar power plants.
Where in the United States is residential solar power most prevalent?
Los Angeles has the most installed solar capacity, with 650 MW, followed by San Diego and Las Vegas. However, Honolulu, Hawaii, has the most solar capacity per inhabitant of any city in the world.
Where exactly is the world's solar capital located?
Officials in the little desert town of Gila Bend have turned its 71 square miles of land into the solar capital of Arizona, the United States, and maybe the globe.
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