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Europe boasts 70% of world’s solar capacity

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A rooftop solar PV installation in Germany. [Photo Credit: Flicker.Com Creative Commons Photo by mgrenner57]

A lot of Americans make snide comments about Europe and rail about how they don’t want the U.S. to become “Europeanized.”

In fact Europe’s got a lot of things right and the U.S. would do well to ditch some of its arrogant attitudes toward Europe and follow in its footsteps on a number of fronts. One of these is clearly the solar front.

Not only is Europe the global leader in the solar power sector, it accounted for a massive 70 percent of the cumulative solar PV capacity installed worldwide through the end of 2011. All told, of 70 gigawatts of global solar capacity, 51 GW are in Europe.

Germany leads
Although Germany gets most of the credit for the large amounts of solar energy it produces, many smaller countries such as Denmark have been rapidly adding to their solar capacity.

According to EarthTechling.Com, Denmark will reach its 2020 goal of 200 MW of solar this year, doing so eight years early. Despite these noteworthy statistics, an EU report notes “how far solar has to go to become a major contributor to electricity production.”

The report also states that because the number of market implementation programs is increasing as well as the overall energy prices and the pressures to stabilize the climate, European demand for solar systems will continue to stay high.

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