A few years ago, one of our customers found themselves unable to continue growing at the rate they wanted to within the sectors they had been serving for 75 years. As their growth partner, we developed a list of targeted industries where they could diversify. One of those industries, solar energy, has really revitalized their growth rate as it increases in viability as an alternative energy source. When we learned that sustainable alternative energy was a key issue at this year’s G7 Summit, we took the opportunity to dig deeper, and discover what’s on the horizon for solar energy around the world.
Solar in the U.S.
While solar power comprises a very small piece of the energy pie in the U.S. (.4% in 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), solar capacity grew by over 400% between 2010 and 2014. A growing number of utility-scale solar installations (as opposed to residential) are increasing demand for solar capacity, and some experts believe that 2015 may be the first year where more than half of the U.S.’ new electricity capacity comes from solar.
Solar in Other G7 Countries
Germany leads the pack in global solar usage, and June 2014 marked the first time where over 50 percent of the country’s electricity was solar generated, mostly in the form of residential rooftop panels.
Solar energy met over 7.5 percent of Italy’s electricity needs in 2014, and solar energy costs the same as other more conventional energy sources (this is also true in Germany and Spain).
In 2014, the UK installed more new solar capacity (2.5 gigawatts) than any other country in Europe—and so far in 2015, they’ve installed another 2GW.
While only one percent of its energy currently comes from solar, France has recently decreed that new commercial buildings must be partially covered in either plants or solar panels.
In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, solar power has become the leading alternative energy source in Japan. When solar power achieves profitability there later this year, Japan will become the last of the G7 countries to hit solar cost-revenue parity.
Canada’s investment in solar energy rose 47 percent in 2014. Ontario leads the country in solar power generation, with 43% of new capacity additions in the province coming from solar.
In their post-summit declaration, G7 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to exploring and deploying alternative energy solutions such as solar:
“We regard diversification as a core element of energy security and aim to further diversify the energy mix, energy fuels, sources and routes…And we will work together and with other interested countries to raise the overall coordination and transparency of clean energy research, development and demonstration, highlighting the importance of renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies.”
With the successes already achieved in the G7 countries (and beyond) and their continued commitment to alternative energy, solar’s future—and the future of our client in the solar marketplace—is looking bright. What’s your company’s outlook—are you growing, or stagnating? Is your marketing reaching your target audience? Is it time for you to diversify?