Germany Leads the PV Market - for Now

By 2012, new German installations may fall off, but worldwide capacity will still rise sharply

1 min read
Germany Leads the PV Market - for Now

charts showing photovoltaic installs and top countries

Click on the illustration for full graphic view.

Thanks largely to hefty government support, Germany's solar market has become the largest in the world. Germany has installed half the world's solar power every year since 2007, adding 8.8 gigawatts in 2010 alone. The trend is expected to continue in 2011, with German installations providing nearly half the world's 20 new gigawatts, according to data provided by research and analysis firm iSuppli Corp. and confirmed by other analysts.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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