Which country uses the most solar power?

The top 10 solar-powered nations.

For a nation with such little year-round sun, it’s no wonder the UK isn’t topping the tables for photovoltaic (PV) solar power use. But with many countries having shown a commitment to generating more environmentally-friendly energy in recent years, who is leading the field and who is lagging behind? Find out in our list of the top-ranking countries below.

Top 10 countries going solar

China

1. China

China has a bigger solar energy capacity than any other country in the world, at a gargantuan 130 gigawatts. It also still holds the record for largest operational solar project in its 1,547-MW project at Tengger, recorded in 2018. These feats are made easier by the fact that China is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels, which has seen it already exceed the government’s 2020 target for solar installations, offsetting a significant carbon footprint.


USA

2. United States

Home to some of the world’s largest solar power plants, the United States is the second-largest growth market for renewables. Despite President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, renewable projects in the US are expected to benefit from multi-year federal tax incentives and state-level policies for distributed solar panels in the coming years.


Japan

3. Japan

With its advanced technology and manufacturing industries, the Japanese government pledged to increase renewable energy sources from 15% to 22–24% in 2018, including wind and solar by 2030. Since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the country has approached solar power with vigour, setting targets for 28 GW and 53 GW for 2020 and 2030, respectively.


Germany

4. Germany

Germany has been a key leader in the production of PV power for years, achieving the highest ranking country for solar PV per capita in 2018. Renewable energy is considered a high priority by the government, which aims to source 80% of electricity from renewable sources by 2050. In the first half of 2018, solar power produced over 7% of the country’s net power consumption, out of a total renewables share of 39%.


indiasolar

5. India

A country with one of the fastest-growing solar industries, India’s solar installed capacity reached 28.18 GW in March 2019 and the country became the lowest cost producer of solar power in the world. The government had an initial target of 20 GW capacity for 2022, which was achieved four years ahead of schedule in 2018.


Italy

6. Italy

Although Italy has historically relied on foreign imports for a significant proportion of its energy, as of 2018, solar PV accounts for 7.9% of electricity demand, making the country a major leader in solar power generation and development. After the EU set a target to generate 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020, Italy was one of eleven nations to reach the objective years in advance of the deadline.


UK

7. United Kingdom

Government initiatives encouraging schools, businesses and homes to introduce solar panels, alongside a decrease in the cost of PV technology, have helped the UK establish itself as a leading country in solar power production. In 2017, solar accounted for 3.4% of Britain’s total electricity generation, up from 3.1% in 2016. The government also expects that 4 million homes will be solar-powered by 2020.


2015-Australia-OO-Hayman-TP2

8. Australia

PV accounted for 5.2% of Australia’s electrical energy production in 2018, and as of March 2019, the country had over 12,035 MW of installed PV solar power, of which 4,068 MW were installed in the preceding 12 months. 59 solar PV projects with a combined installed capacity of 2,881 MW are also either under construction, constructed or due to start construction having reached financial closure. But many would argue that Australia is still a producing relatively little of its energy through solar power, while it has the sunshine, resources and infrastructure to do more.


France

9. France

The French solar market grew by 59% in the first six months of 2018, mainly driven by large-scale solar installations. Overall, the country’s cumulative installed PV power surpassed an impressive 8.5 GW, with the newly installed PV capacity reaching 479 MW. With its political spirit, developed energy industry and thriving economy, France is steadily growing as a generator of this form of environmentally-friendly energy.


South Korea

10. South Korea

South Korea plans to add 30 GW of PV by 2030, to improve the country’s relatively poor renewable energy performance up until now, with 9% of that capacity to be developed in Saemangeum and 14GW of solar power energy to be installed before 2020.

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12 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MrityunjayApril 10, 2019

    Please add this too for India.
    The Indian government had an initial target of 20 GW capacity for 2022, which was achieved four years ahead of schedule. In 2015 the target was raised to 100 GW of solar capacity (including 40 GW from rooftop solar) by 2022, targeting an investment of US$100 billion.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniApril 12, 2019Staff

      Hi Mrityunjay,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Thanks for the additional info. I have forwarded this to our team and they’ll do changes if necessary.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  2. Default Gravatar
    jamesMarch 25, 2019

    does it cause pollution

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoMarch 26, 2019Staff

      Hi James,

      Thanks for getting in touch! Solar panels don’t emit any sort of gas, therefore, it definitely doesn’t cause pollution. Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

  3. Default Gravatar
    ebubeMarch 22, 2019

    how will i get connected to be trained on solar panal in china

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoMarch 23, 2019Staff

      Hi Ebube,

      Thanks for getting in touch! We don’t have information on how to install/connect solar panels in China. You can connect with the solar panel providers in China and ask if they have training on this so you can get started on your solar panel connection. Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

  4. Default Gravatar
    AiichiroMarch 21, 2019

    Does solar energy only work better for certain parts of the world?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 21, 2019Staff

      Hi Aiichiro,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Yes, as the amount of power generated by any solar technology at a particular country depends on how much of the sun’s energy reaches it.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  5. Default Gravatar
    DarionFebruary 16, 2019

    I am doing research for a COOP class. We are planning a business. Which country would offer benefits to a new growing business of solar panels while also offering little competition to big corps that are already branching out? This will be our sister country, not for our headquarters. Any suggestions will help to give us our next lead.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 21, 2019Staff

      Hi Darion,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. It’s nice to hear about your business plan.

      As of now, we don’t have the specific answer to your question. However, what I can suggest is for you to start with the countries listed on our page. From there, you can do your independent research and see how these countries support solar power businesses. Moreover, you can also ask around and see if you find people who have first-hand knowledge about your question.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  6. Default Gravatar
    GerardFebruary 5, 2019

    I notice. There are far fewer solar panels on roofs in sunnier countries such as Spain and Italy. Why is this?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 12, 2019Staff

      Hi Gerard,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      There are a few reasons why Spain or Italy is not heavily relying on solar energy. For one, there’s not too much interest and enthusiasm in adding solar panels in their homes or businesses. Next, there’s an issue of installation cost. For example in Spain, installation of solar panels has made even more expensive due to taxes.

      In the end, the reason why these countries don’t use enough solar power is up for debate. Please feel free to do your own research as well.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

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