Dating back to 7th Century BC humans have made use of concentrating solar light through a glass to create fire. Today, solar usage looks more like flying planes, energizing homes, and powering vehicles. However, it is no secret that the sun, if used efficiently, will be the greatest source of energy in the near future.

As the United States and surrounding countries begin to focus on renewable energy and the positive impact this will have against carbon emissions, one focal point many key stakeholders have been focusing on is commercial and residential solar, and the effects on the environment. At the end of 2021 it was reported over 580.1 GW and just over 2% of all electricity globally was reported to be from Solar PVs. So what are the potential benefits of solar and where does the United States rank in this equation?

Solar, Country Rankings

Graph A
The Potential of Solar 1

Shown above is the cumulative Solar PV capacity of 2019 by country. (Statista, 2021) Graph A shows that China is the leader in Solar PV accounting for 204 GW with the United States following behind at 76 GW nationally.

Graph B

The Potential of Solar 2

Graph B above captures the air quality globally on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021 (Ventusky, 2021).

Although committing to solar is just a small part of the larger picture it is shown by graphs A & B which countries struggle with overall carbon emissions and how countries such as China and India are beginning to assist in the ultimate goal of a healthier Earth.

Where is the Greatest Potential for Solar Energy?

Graph C

The Potential of Solar 3

Graph C shows the greatest potential for solar energy per country. As shown on the key: dark red accumulates a sum of 2,500 kWh annually while pale yellow shows a sum of 500kWh annually. Africa, Australia, and Chile are just three countries that would benefit greatly by the usage of solar energy exhibiting the maximum kWh rate globally. Each country can benefit large or small in the equation of solar.

The Future is Solar

As scientists and entrepreneurs continue to discover new ways to decrease the carbon footprint and undo harmful emissions, it is expected that the usage of solar energy will continue to expand tremendously through the next 10 years. The United States alone has plans to grow over 120 solar energy projects. Texas, California, and Nevada are expected to lead this change. The benefits of using solar energy are truly endless.

Want to Learn More? Helpful Links

Energy.Gov – The History of Solar Energy

AirSwift – Solar Energy Projects

Ventusky – Global Weather Reports

Statista – Solar PV Capacity

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