New Solar Technology Trends Around the World

In the business of solar energy, the U.S. has not been the biggest buyer of solar power. While the U.S. does quite well exporting solar panels and solar technology, there are many Americans who still find the cost of panels very prohibitive. Plus, many states still don't offer the same sizeable solar power perks (tax credits, low interest loan programs) as many other nations in the world.

As the price of solar energy decreases, Europe has had a much higher demand for solar power than anywhere else in the world. Germany alone orders double the amount of solar panels sold in the U.S. ever year. Better yet, there's a bigger market for commercial solar power in Europe than in the U.S. Many European universities and campuses have rebuilt their dorms to run off solar energy. Most water heaters in Europe are solar-powered, even if the home doesn't have a full solar panel system.

A recent report released by states that between 2008 and 2020, Germany will become one the largest producers of solar panels in the world. In Europe, it's not just small residential power systems
that are leading the way in solar energy dependence. It's mostly large scale (over 1 MW) projects that have spurred new markets that have shaped a new landscape of energy usage in Europe. Such large projects have literally changed the way how utility companies and residential contract companies view solar energy. It's become increasingly easier for European business owners to purchase and install their panels with lowered tariffs and taxes.

Specifically, Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic are the newest customers of solar power systems. These countries have begun to purchase so much solar energy that their borders have seen changes in tariffs for solar panels. They've also seen major changes in permitting regulations that makes it easier for such private residences to have solar energy systems. In Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic, the demand for solar energy is the same in the private (residential) industry and the commercial industry. Conversely, most other European nations have seen a drastic rise in commercial industry demand, with residential demand remaining relatively stable.

Japan, who's also been at the forefront of solar panel imports, has picked up solar panel buying as the cost of gas and electricity rises. Japan has begun using solar panels in almost every new commercial and industrial building being built- including schools, hospitals and government facilities. There are entire neighborhoods in Japan outfitted with residential solar power panels. For example, the neighborhood of Iwaki New Town has about 46 homes outfitted with full private solar power panels. The neighborhood produces over 310,000 kWh in a single year, enough to power over 90 residences!

Japan also uses solar energy in surprising places. Japan is the only country to power most of its vending machines with solar energy. Sharp, one of the largest solar panel producing companies in Japan estimates that by 2010, Japan will produce 4.8 million kWh of solar energy. As a result, buying solar energy panels in Japan is inexpensive and has created one of the most profitable net-metering countries in the world.

Using the power of the sun definitely isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, solar energy may be the next step in energetic materials. If we equipped half the homes in America with solar panel systems, we could produce enough electricity to run the entire country. All it takes is one house at a time!

Philip Richards is an expert writer about solar power. Check out how he made solar power at home with this easy to follow guide at Or check out his blog on solar power at

By Philip_Richards
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