2011 Was A Great Year For Solar Power In Europe
According to a story by Bloomberg, 2011 was a big year for the installation of photovoltaic panels (solar panels that convert solar energy to electricity) in Europe. In fact, total installation increased 63% to reach 21.9 gigawatts (21,900 million watts).
That number is impressive for two reasons. First, it represents 74% of global installation of PV panels (which, to save you the math, added up to 29.7 gigawatts). Second, it surpassed the combined installation of new wind and gas-powered capacity in Europe (which were each around 9.5 gigawatts).
Such an incredible growth, which was driven by decreasing prices in PV panels and generous feed-in tariffs, is not expected to continue in the foreseeable future. Although prices of panels will continue to fall, European feed-in tariffs are set to gradually decrease (which is what subsidies are meant to do). But, don’t feel too sorry for the European solar energy industry: According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, new European solar capacity is forecast to be anywhere between 9.4 to 21.6 gigawatts in 2012!
If you will indulge me, I’d would just like to end this post by getting something off of my chest.
Renewable energy is a growing industry which Canada is seriously missing out on. Instead, we are stuck in the 20th century, putting all our economic “eggs” in the fossil fuels “basket”. As a result we are destroying natural ecosystems, increasing our carbon footprint and yet doing nothing to ensure our energy security because we export much of what we extract! Our ecosystems, our economy, and more importantly our climate, cannot afford for us to continue down this road. We need to wake up and invest in renewables!
OK. I feel better now. Thanks for listening.