What are some statistics about the use of solar power?
According to Worldwatch Institute, the amount of energy produced by solar cells in 2007 shot up 51 percent to 3,733 megawatts, while installations of solar cells have increased five-fold in the past five years. An industry report claims that the solar cell industry raised $10 billion and generated $17.2 billion in global revenues in the last year alone. Solar energy currently provides a very small percentage of global energy consumption (about 1%) but that number has been rising rapidly as a response to rising energy costs and environmental awareness.
What are some obstacles concerning the use of solar power?
The biggest obstacle facing the expansion of the solar power market is a shortage of poly-silicon, which absorbs the sun's photons in order to generate an electric current. Krasnodar-based Solar Wind, which produces solar modules for Spain, Germany and Greece, has the capacity to produce four times more than it s actual output. Nitol Solar, a company based in a restructured Soviet chemical plant in the Irkutsk region, plans to produce 3,700 tons of poly-silicon per year, or about 9 percent of last year's global supply, by the end of 2009.
Executive director of Nitol Solar, Dmitry Kotenko, who is seeking government support for Russia’s solar power industry said:
"The photovoltaic industry is technologically and scientifically intensive. In this regard, Russia can take advantage of its general scientific potential while developing such an innovative industry sector.”
What other countries are becoming involved in the global wave towards solar power energy?
Russia’s plans have not escaped the attention of big “solar players” such as China’s Suntech Power, which is the world’s third-biggest producer of solar cells. Suntech has signed a seven-year supply agreement with Nitol and has agreed to purchase $100 million worth of shares in the Russian company. Nitol Solar has contracts totaling $1.5 billion dollars through 2015, which insures the delivery of raw materials for solar cell production to several European nations, the United States, Taiwan and South Korea.
Solar power may well change the course of the global economy.
Only time will tell.
In the meantime, got any petrol?