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## List of the top 10 countries using solar power in the world according to installed photovoltaic solar (PV) energy capacity.

Top 10 Countries Using Solar Power
By Matthew Wheeland - September 15, 2014

1. Germany: 35.5 GW
2. China: 18.3 GW
3. Italy: 17.6 GW
4. Japan: 13.6 GW
5. United States: 12 GW
6. Spain: 5.6 GW
7. France: 4.6 GW
8. Australia: 3.3 GW
9. Belgium: 3 GW
10. United Kingdom: 2.9 GW

Question:

How many GWh can be generated in a year with 1 GW installed photovoltaic solar (PV) energy capacity?

Dramsey | 31 Janvier 2015

The answer to your question depends entirely on where the PV array is located.

negarholger | 31 Janvier 2015

In the Bay Area the multiplier would be 5 to 5.5 per day or 1900 per year.

1 GW solar panels would produce 1,900 GWh per year.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insolation

Benz | 31 Janvier 2015

@ Dramsey

Yes, I understand that, so let's take Germany for example. Then there must be a minimum GWh and a maximum GWh that can be generated with 1 GW installed photovoltaic solar (PV) energy capacity, right?

Benz | 31 Janvier 2015

@ Kleist

Maybe we should take 5 as the average multiplier.

Let's say that there is currently at least 150 GW capacity in the world.

Then we can calculate how much electricity can be generated per year:

150 x 5 x 360 = 270,000 GWh = 270 TWh

While the current total global consumption of electricity is about 20,000 TWh.

negarholger | 31 Janvier 2015

@Benz - half of it for the average. Germany and China have annual multipliers of about 800 to 1200.

Benz | 31 Janvier 2015

@ Kleist

OK

So for Germany and China we could use an average annual multiplier of 1,000. I think that would be reasonable.

But the point is that each country has it's own annual multiplier (depending on the geographical position of each country).

The global demand for electricity can be satisfied with solar energy. Then we would need lots of solar panels, and lots of Gigafactories to produce stationary battery packs for energy storage.

How many Gigafactories would be required to produce enough stationary battery packs for energy storage for just 1 TWh (= 1,000 GWh)?

If each Gigafactory would produce 50 GWh, then we would need 20 Gigafactories for just 1 TWh (= 1,000 GWh).

For 1,000 TWh we would need 20,000 Gigafactories.

Plus the 200 Gigafactories that are required for the Automotive Industry.

That's insane.

Benz | 31 Janvier 2015

California 2012
Total electric power industry: 199,518,567 MWh (that's about 200 TWh).
Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic: 1,382,300 MWh (that's not even 0.7% of the total).

Click/open the top annual data Excel file (Net Generation by State by Type of Producer by Energy Source).

Benz | 1 février 2015

The annual total electricity consumption in Saudi Arabia in 2010 was 190,900 GWh (link wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electricity_consumption).

Suppose that Saudi Arabia would require a total of 240 TWh in 2020. And suppose that 1 GW capacity would generate 2 TWh (because of the geographical location of Saudi Arabia). Then Saudi Arabia would need to install 120 GW of photovoltaic solar (PV) energy capacity.

How many solar panels would they need?

How much surface area of Saudi Arabia would they need to cover with solar panels if they wanted to create 1 extreme large solar plant (in square km's)?

And what kind of investments will Saudi Arabia have make to realise such an extreme solar plant?

Red Sage ca us | 1 février 2015

For the sake of comparison and stuff...

Benz | 1 février 2015

@ Red Sage

Geothermal Energy might also be possible for Saudi Arabia, but let's first keep the focus on Solar Energy.

Benz | 1 février 2015

Suppose that Saudi Arabia would require a total of 240 TWh in 2020. And suppose that 1 GW capacity would generate 2 TWh (because of the geographical location of Saudi Arabia). Then Saudi Arabia would need to install 120 GW of photovoltaic solar (PV) energy capacity.

How many solar panels would they need?

Well, let's take 250 Watt solar panels.

Then Saudi Arabia would need:

250 Watt x 4 = 1 KWh
1 KWh x 1,000,000 = 1 GWh
1 GWh x 120 = 120 GWh

4 x 1,000,000 x 120 = 480 million solar panels (of 250 Watt each).
Let's make it a round total of 500 million solar panels (of 250 Watt each).

How much surface area of Saudi Arabia would they need to cover with solar panels if they wanted to create 1 extreme large solar plant (in square km's)?

The size of each solar panel is 167.5 cm (length) and 100,1 cm (width). The surface of each solar panel is 1.676675 square meter.

500 million x 1.676675 square meter = 838,337,500 square meter = 838.3375 square km

A surface area of 30 km by 30 km would result in 900 square km, that should be sufficient.

And what kind of investments will Saudi Arabia have make to realise such an extreme solar plant?

Price per solar panel? How about \$250? And 20% discount?
\$200 x 500 million = \$100 Billion (that's only the total purchase price for the solar panels)

A total budget of \$500 Billion should be enough for this project.

Or maybe not?

Blueshift | 1 février 2015

The land area needed to produce 18 terawatts (2010 global average energy consumption) using 8% efficient photovoltaics, shown as black dots:

Source: WikiMedia. - See more at: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/09/dont-be-a-pv-efficiency-snob...

Double the efficiency, half the required land area.

Blueshift | 1 février 2015

Regarding storage. It is a real challenge. Too bad we can't build a globe circling superconducting grid. The sun is always shining on one side of the planet.

negarholger | 1 février 2015

Maybe that is what the Earth circling swarm of satellites is all about... provide Internet and power for an 8W LED light ( = 60W incandescent) to the dark parts of the World.

Today millions of folks live and grow up buring Kerosene indoors at enormous health risk... a single 8W LED light would provide much more.

Benz | 1 février 2015

@ Kleist

I don't understand what you meant to say/explain with the example of the 8W LED light.

The satellites would provide power for an 8W LED light?

Benz | 2 février 2015

@ Blueshift

Regarding energy storage, would it be enough if we would add another \$500 Billion to the budget to get a total of \$1 Trillion.

How much energy storage would that buy us (total of all the stationary battery packs)? How about 1 TWh of energy storage (a combination of a great many stationary battery packs in the sizes of: 100 MWh, 50 MWh, 10 MWh, 5 MWh and 1 MWh). All these stationary battery packs would form a network in Saudi Arabia. The larger stationary battery packs would be placed close to the Solar plants, and the smallest stationary battery packs would be placed near the end consumers. Just like the form of a tree.

This would require lots of Gigafactories.

negarholger | 2 février 2015

Benz - no.

Benz | 2 février 2015

@ Kleist

That's a very short reply. Let's switch to the longer version.

No, meaning you don't want to explain more about it?

negarholger | 2 février 2015

Benz - the Earth swarming satellites powering LED lights around the World was a not meant to be taken literally.

Sorry for the confusion...

hobowankenobi | 3 février 2015

Until there is a break through in battery or capacitor storage.....solar thermal/steam turbine generation may be a practical solution. Storing thermal energy to be used when PV is off line is already here, now:

http://www.areva.com/EN/operations-3640/concentrated-solar-power-technol...

I have read that the steam generated can be stored for a minimum of 36 hours, so generate steam all day, run turbine all night.

Local power companies in the sun belt could run their own farms, or large utilities could have multiple sources closer to their customers cutting down on transmission loss and could also "diversify" sources to have more of a mesh network. Need even more insurance for peak loads or sun challenged weather events? Banks of these can go anywhere, and are not dependent on weather at all:

http://www.bloomenergy.com/fuel-cell/energy-server/

PV can do the heavy daily lifting, and there are still green, clean, and cost effective methods of guarding against peak load issues, night demand, and sun "outages" without resorting to traditional fuels.

Brian H | 29 mars 2015

When you have 'renewable' capacity to power the country, and mandate its preferential use (despite costs), you are maximally vulnerable to variability. That's why Germany has the 2nd highest (after Denmark) grid charges in the world. Its loss of energy-intensive industry is accelerating. Surprise!

vvvein | 31 mars 2015

Thank you for the information. It is evident that people are interested in this question and even have made a research. Probably, it is necessary to take into consideration only the latest data, because the technologies offered by Solar Panels Company are changing and improving every year, so efficiency is higher too. Apparently, the best way to make a conclusion is asking about the experience real families have. It will be quite easy to realize what you get and what you lose.

Dramsey | 31 mars 2015

@Kenz,

It's probably worth mentioning the Germany's high dive into renewables has resulted in the highest electricity prices in Europe:

How Electrcicity Became a Luxury Good

Over half of what Germans pay for electrcity is taxes and fees to support this system. At \$0.35 per kWh, German power is triple the (average) cost of power in the United States.

Renewable energy is certainly worth discussing, but it's got serious downsides...

james.nicklin | 31 mars 2015

That is what happens when change is driven by a government instead of a free market.

grega | 31 mars 2015

The government needs to be involved if the free market is making a mistake. But it would be good to find a way to tie current choices into any long term effects and then let the market decide for themselves what they'll do.

Dramsey | 31 mars 2015

Hm. And who determines if the free market is "making a mistake"? I'd posit that said market has a way better track record than the government as far as business is concerned.

Brian H | 1 avril 2015

Energy intensive companies in Germany (and the UK, e.g.) are voting with their feet. Politicians deplore this, the most obvious consequence. Stupid.

grega | 1 avril 2015

@Dramsey, as I said, it'd be good if we could find a way to tie the future impact of current choices to those making the choices.

ie: If in 20 years it turns out coal was evil, then those that make money on coal now should be paying for it in a big way.

Companies aren't made that way though. It's a much better financial reward for shareholders to be smart enough to make short term profit and know when to sell out, than to be reduce profit but do the right thing.

So yeah... shareholders in the free market will make short term money. Guaranteed. Governments will try a bit longer term but don't have a brilliant track record either.

Difficult call :)

grega | 1 avril 2015

I do mean that both ways. I'd like a solution that also costs anyone that takes subsidies due to incorrect global predictions.

Some solution that makes it a big, long term financial reward for actually doing brilliant science.

clark17king | 6 novembre 2015

I am wondering if anyone knows where to buy solar panels from along with all of the mounting equipment?

I am new to this and would like to setup my solar array before the government feed in tariff is cut.

A friend of mine suggested: http://solarandheatstore.com/

Does anyone have any other ideas? Really want to get this sorted.

Watt fun | 6 novembre 2015

This is not a 'do it yourself' moment if you have no history/working knowledge of systems, panels, invertors, or storage and you are 'new to this'. Hire a professional!

EmperorTytus | 6 novembre 2015

Just make it easy on yourself and go with SolarCity.