In 2014, the world installed 40,134 MW of solar power. This brought us to a total installed capacity of 178,391 MW. How much is that? 1% of global demand. This sounds promising, until you realize that the exponential growth people talked about is over. In fact, the places that began installing solar first, have largely stopped. Exponential growth is frontpage news, collapse isn’t.
Based on the graph in the document, in 2010, Europe installed around 13,000 MW. In 2011, Europe installed 22,000 MW. In 2012, about 17,500 MW. In 2013, 10,500 MW. In 2014, Europe installed a mere 6,950 MW. In other words, we’re now down to less than 33% of what we installed in 2011.
There are three countries in Europe where solar covers more than 7% of electricity demand: Germany, Italy and Greece. The Greek electricity sector is currently falling apart. April 2015 saw 11.4% less electricity produced than 2014. Costs of electricity in Greece are rising on a yearly basis, for a total of 60% in six years.
The solar revolution you were promised has been put on hold. Germany and many other countries here in Europe are now phasing out their solar subsidies, because it puts such a strain on the electricity grid. The lack of subsidies means that Germany didn’t even reach its goal of installing at least 2,5 GW of capacity in 2014, instead it installed a mere 1.9 GW. The other form of renewable energy that is being installed on any meaningful scale is wind energy, which faces the same problems as solar energy, in that these are intermittent forms of energy.