How Much of the World Uses Solar Energy?

With all the changes going on in the world, it might be hard to believe that solar energy is experiencing an uptick in popularity. After all, we’re constantly being told that the world is running out of energy reserves. But if we’re being honest, we have to admit that we’re not really seeing a decline in interest in solar power. Instead, we’re seeing an increase in popularity due to the falling costs and the many viable options that are now available.

To give you an idea of how much of the world’s population uses solar energy, we examined the renewable power sources currently available and used around the world. The results are pretty staggering. We’ll tell you exactly how much of the world uses solar energy, as well as which regions are leading the way in transitioning to renewable sources.

The World’s Second-Largest Energy Producer (Next To Wind)

The first thing that you’ll notice when you scroll down this list is that most of these renewable energy sources are actually used together. The world’s second-largest producer of solar power is Germany, which gets about 78% of its energy from solar. Then, you have Japan with about 28%. Next up is Spain, followed by the United States, which gets about 19% of its power from the sun. Finally, you’ll see that a lot of countries are slowly transitioning to renewable energy and seem to be reaping the benefits already.

How Much Solar Energy Does Each Country Use?

When you get down to the individual country level, you’ll see that Germany, Japan, and the United States use the most solar energy. Interestingly enough, these three countries together represent about 85% of the world’s total solar power output. The rest is divided among other countries, including Australia, France, and China. If we were to calculate an average, we’d say that about 4.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity are generated by solar annually. That’s the equivalent of 1.8 billion barrels of oil or 27 trillion cigarettes.

The Most And Least Popular Countries For Solar Energy

To see which countries are currently most and least interested in solar energy, we examined the following aspects of interest:

  • Search interest
  • Installed capacity
  • Electricity generated from renewable sources
  • Number of publications in top tier journals
  • Number of crowdfunding projects
  • Number of solar farms
  • Funding available for solar projects
  • Number of patents filed (per million people)
  • Number of active social media users

The data for this analysis came from the Google Trends platform. To start with the most popular countries, you’ll see that interest in solar power is at an all-time high in Germany, Spain, and the United States. But interest in solar power is also soaring in countries like China and India, two of the world’s most populous nations.

When it comes to the least popular countries, you’ll see that Russia is leading the way with an interest score of 3 out of 100. Interestingly, the country with the second-lowest search interest score is actually Mexico, which has an interest score of 20 out of 100. This makes sense when you think about it. With all the news coverage surrounding the migrant crisis and the threat of immigrants draining local resources, it’s easy to understand why Mexico might have a negative view of solar power. However, this could change. If the country makes the right investments and sets the right policies, it could become one of the world’s leaders in solar power.

What Will The Future Of Solar Power Look Like?

With all the advancements in technology and the dropping costs of solar power, it’s easy to envision a future where almost everyone has access to clean energy. In many regions where sunlight is plentiful, the energy produced by the sun is enough to power almost all of society. Therefore, it’s no wonder why so many people are interested in this form of energy.

But what will the future of solar power look like? Will we see a convergence of all these interests and investments in renewable energy, or are there still distinct differences between sectors? Will the next big thing be from materials science, or will it be something entirely different?

To explore these questions, we need to take a step back and examine how solar power has worked and evolved over the past century. This will help us pinpoint emerging trends that could shape this exciting industry in the future. But before we do that, let’s examine the early days of solar power and how it all started.

Where Does Solar Power Come From?

The first solar-powered devices were built in the early 20th century, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that the industry really took off. That’s when research and development began focusing on more efficient materials and processes, as well as lower costs. It wasn’t long before these efforts bore fruit, and by the 1960s, the first solar cells were manufactured and starting to appear on roofs across the world.

In the decades that followed, solar power continued to evolve and take shape. In the 2000s, we started seeing solar farms and power stations emerge. These structures were previously only found on rooftops and were used to generate power. However, in the last couple of years, we’ve started to see an expansion into different areas such as desalination and water pumping. As a result, solar power is no longer just about generating electricity, it’s about using any form of energy to solve everyday problems.

How Did Solar Power Evolve?

Now that we’ve examined the early days of solar power and how it began, we can take a more in-depth look at how this exciting industry has evolved throughout the past century. This will help us better understand what is prompting such widespread interest today and how this fascination with solar energy relates back to earlier days.

Material Science

In the early days of solar power, scientists and engineers worked tirelessly to perfect the process of converting sunlight into electricity. Therefore, a lot of the credit for the growth of solar power goes to materials science. This is because the first solar cells were built out of silicon, which is a naturally abundant element that is found in abundance in the earth’s crust. As a result, the cost of solar cells decreased significantly, paving the way for mass production and a more affordable option for households and businesses.


Another important area that helped drive the growth of solar power was technology. Early pioneers made the effort to find ways to integrate solar cells on to different surfaces. This led to alternative energy sources being used for a variety of applications, including space heating, refrigeration, and automobile manufacturing. As a result, we now have a global demand for solar power that continues to increase each year.


Finally, economics is also a driving factor behind the interest in solar power. As mentioned before, the cost of solar power has decreased significantly in recent years. As a result, many households, businesses, and institutions are now able to make the switch and cut their energy costs. It’s also important to note that many countries have also implemented tariffs and subsidies that also contribute to the declining cost of solar power. As a result, more and more people are able to afford clean energy, which in turn, leads to a greater demand and continued interest in renewable energy sources.

Now that you know how much of the world uses solar energy and which regions are leading the way in transitioning to renewable sources, it’s time to examine the future of solar power. This industry is still in its infancy, and there are many possibilities for growth. With all the interest today, it’s easy to see why. But the most important takeaway from this analysis is that solar power is more than just another trend or fancy fad. Instead, it’s a viable solution to the global energy crisis that is looming large.

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