The familiar conventional solar panel that springs to mind when someone mentions solar power could be replaced by the new trend of integrating solar technology into buildings. The increasing popularity for building integrated photovoltaics is aided by the advances in microgeneration technology including solar roof tiles, shingles and even special sheeting that can be incorporated into other building materials which is coated in layers of atomised photovoltaic material.
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China has promised to significantly increase renewable energy by 2020 by investing heavily in photovoltaic solar panels. This, along with other green energy initiatives, will see the proportion of renewable energy in China’s energy mix raised from 1.5% to 6%.
The Green Cross International lobby group has been evaluating the solar industries of 16 of the most wealthy countries. Their results concluded that all countries are still incentivising and subsidising the oil and gas industries heavily, but that solar energy was not getting any where near the same benefits.
Within the worst group of performers in the report, the UK’s solar industry is described as “a very small market” with “no significant support for solar growth at this time”. The UK got a D minus rating which was based on the calibre of education about the benefits of solar and what incentives and subsidies the industry receives.
Germany was praised in the report with a rating of 70/100 due to their robust incentive packages for building solar and installing solar panels on many of its new buildings.
The president of Green Cross International, Alexander Likhotal argues that greater subsidies could be offered to the solar industry if they were scaled back on non-renewable energy. Awareness and education towards the benefits of solar energy should also be more of a priority in government’s agendas around the globe.
It is clear that if the world is to overcome climate change, countries’ leaders need to start thinking about incentives to get renewable energy off the ground, not least to meet the targets set by individual countries but also as part of a new deal for green energy at the G20 talks.