US Solar Market Slowly Catching Up

Cleantechnica reports that the United States solar market grew by 76% last year, for a total of 3.1 GW installed. The reason for this is mainly that prices are way down. Module prices have gone down 41% in one year to $0.60 per watt.

However, there is still a lot of catching up to do. That 3.1 GW is equivalent to about 10 watt per person, the American population conveniently being around 0.31 billion.

Germany’s record last year was around 7.6 GW last year, and with population at around 0.082 billion, that works out to 92.7 watt per person, or close to ten times the United States record.

Kees van der Leun recently tweeted some fun calculations about what would happen if Germany’s record was reached everywhere. His result is 2,800 GW of capacity. Just for fun, let’s check that. World population is estimated at 7.072 billion. Divide by 0.082 for a factor of around 86. Dividing 2,800 by 86 gets around 32.6 GW, which is about right.

And the World would need to deploy 653 GW a year if everybody reached Germany’s level. That would be more like it for countering climate change than the present real records (30 GW in 2012, and cumulative 100 GW passed only recently).


Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

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