Currently, Germany is at the forefront of the solar trend. “Germany added more PV in 2010 than the entire world did the previous year, ending 2010 with 17.3 GW of existing capacity.”Italy and Spain rank after Germany in world PV consumption. The European Union’s stance on renewable energy accounts for one reason why these countries are so invested in solar PV. The reason Germany has been so adamant about solar PV rests on their Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz – EEG) feed-in tariffs. These tariffs promote renewables by making grid operators pay for renewables fed into the grid. “To this end, the Act aims to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the German electricity supply…. Renewable energy shall account for 35% of the electricity production by 2020, for 50% by 2030, for 65% by 2040 and for 80% by 2050.” Japan and the United States account for the most solar PV use outside Europe, with Japan in the lead. With the tragic events at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Japan has taken a powerful stance looking for alternative sources for fuel. Prime Minister Kan had stated, “We will engage in drastic technological innovation in order to increase the share of renewable energy in total electric power supply up to 20 percent by the earliest possible, in 2020.” Japan once was considered the forerunner of the solar market, and now plans to take the title back from Germany. This is entirely possible since the German 2011 FIT plans to cut funding, which is expected to hurt the solar PV market dramatically. The EPIA estimates, “the German PV market could reach between up to 5 and 7 GW in 2010, and come back to around 3 GW to 4 GW annually from 2011 onwards…. the market could stabilise in the 3 to 5 GW annual installations level by 2014.” These predictions in Germany reflect mainly a local agenda, whereas else in the world solar PV will be on a steady increase.
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