During last two decades the growth of solar energy projects all over the world has shown considerable increment.
Initially it evolved for small scale applications which, with the passage of time, gradually developed today as main source of electric energy, due to technological developments.
Initially solar energy was recognised as a promising technology of renewable energy and for this reason the governments of various countries have started several programs like Feed-in Tariff etc. to encourage investors to invest in large scale solar energy projects.
But due to various doubts and reservations the proper description of solar energy growth projections is difficult even today. Several official agencies like the International Energy Agency are constantly trying to increase the use of solar energy all over the world since long but could not get expected positive results till today.
The use of solar energy was mainly encouraged by some leading European countries and Japan since several years. Due to improvement in technologies and increasing use of solar energy the cost of solar energy projects has reduced considerably during these years.
Today deployment of solar energy projects is increasing all over the world more particularly in North American and Asian countries along with others to replace the use of traditional sources of electrical energy. Consequently, several countries like China etc. have increased the production of solar photovoltaic cells and modules to meet up their increasing demand.
The solar power plants of significant capacity have been installed by many industrially developed countries in their electrical grids to use it as a replacement for conventional sources of energy, during last few years.
The number of underdeveloped countries installing solar energy projects is also increasing gradually to reduce their dependence on the fuels imported from other countries.
Two types of technologies are used in these solar power plants:
Solar panels using photovoltaic cells:
These solar panels can be installed on the ground as well as on the rooftops as solar farms to convert energy received directly from sunlight into electrical energy.
Concentrated solar power plants:
These CSPs, also known as concentrated solar thermal power plants, use thermal energy of the sun to make steam which can be converted into electrical energy with the help of a turbine.
The solar energy growth projections all over the world vary from country to country. The capacity of these solar power plants has increased from 40 GW to over 178 GW or GigaWatt in 2014, which is enough to replace 1 % of 18,400 TWh, the total present consumption of electrical energy throughout the world.
In early years China and Japan were among the top installer of solar energy projects all over the world but today several leading European countries including France and Germany, USA and UK have also emerged as the providers of solar energy power plants.
Germany has remained the largest producer of solar power plants for one year by installing plants of 38.2 GW capacity. South Africa and Chile are among the new entrants in the list of top 10 installers of solar power plants in the world.
Today more than 20 countries all over the world are producing various types of solar power plants up to the capacity of over 1GW.
It is estimated that the solar energy produced today all over the world is sufficient to reduce the consumption of traditional electrical energy by 7-8%.