Solar Power Explosion in Spain: 3.1 Gigawatts Installed in 2008
Solar array in Barcelona, Spain. Flickr, CC.Don't Worry, Not Literally an ExplosionAnalysts expected Spain's installed solar power base to grow by about 1 gigawatt in 2008. That missed the mark by quite a bit as "Spain's National Energy Commission (CNE) this week estimated that about 3.1 gigawatts of solar power were connected to the grid from January through November 2008".
Read on for more details.Solar array in Barcelona, Spain. Flickr, CC.
From GreenTech Media:
The 3.1-gigawatt number is an estimate, because only nearly 2 gigawatts worth of the installations have been registered with the government and connected to the grid. But the CNE expects the final number to be higher because it's still collecting registration data.
One gigawatt is about equivalent to a big coal power plant, though many are smaller than that.
Of course, the sun isn't always shinning, but at least Spain has more of it than most places, and maximum production is usually achieved during maximum demand (peak time during very hot days when all the air conditioners are on).
This rush for solar happened mostly because of government subsidies, which got smaller after September 2008. We can expect a slowdown for 2009 (also because of the global recession), but the good news is that once the initial capital investments are made, the sun's free and Spain will benefit from this clean energy from now on. And if you're going to subsidize solar, it's better in sunny Spain than cloudy Germany...
Via GreenTech MediaMore Solar Power ArticlesThermal Photovoltaics Breakthrough by MTPV Corp.A Roof is a Terrible Thing to Waste: 650 KiloWatt Solar Array Completed in Hawthorne, CaliforniaGoogle CEO Eric Schmidt on Renewables vs. Nuclear: "Renewables are cheaper"