Solar power has developed radically over the past few years. The Solar Energy Industries Association states that in order to the United States added an additional 878 megawatts of solar in the year 2010, in excess of two times of the 435 megawatts from the year 2009 and over ten times 79 megawatts of energy generated in the year 2006. This led to the U.S. with a total capacity of over 2.6 gigawatts.
However, the country was completely overshadowed last year by Germany, the world leader in solar installation. Research In Germany reports that the European state added extra 7 gigawatts of solar capability, by raising its total to over 17 gigawatts. Germany has run to match the spectacular growth of the U.S., nearly double its additional capacity in 2010 and more than double that in 2009, as per the SEIA.
A recent report by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (Water and Gas), Germany achieved the feat more remarkable turnout of over 20 % of its electricity from renewable sources in the foremost half of the year 2011, as per the Spiegel Online International. With growth of 76 percent of production, solar energy actually replaces hydropower as the third largest source of renewable energy.
The impressive success of the German solar industry, however, is somewhat counterintuitive, and instead of reflecting the weakness of the U.S. market, illustrates the enormous potential of solar energy in the U.S.
In the year 2009, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory created a map of solar energy prospective in the Germany, U.S and Spain. Due to different climates and latitudes, these countries are dramatically different amounts of solar energy, which measured in kilowatt-hours per square meter per year. United States Energy Information Administration registers 6 kWh/m2/day as their definition of "solar energy prospective," or around 2190 kWh/m2/year.