Small scale solar energy is used in most countries of the world and can range from a simple, solar-powered pump to a small solar power installation. Larger installations exist in many countries, but only seven countries planned to increase capacity by more than 100 megawatts of power using solar generation technologies. According to "The Book of Popular Science," an average U.S. home uses around 1,000 watts of power per day, or a kilowatt. Therefore, one megawatt can power around 1,000 average U.S. homes.
According to "Electrical Engineering Times," Spain planned to increase its capacity the most in 2009. Spain planned to add 2,511 megawatts of electricity using solar power generation technologies. Spain's increased power generation capacity could power around 25 million average American homes.
Germany planned to add around 1,500 megawatts of electricity using solar electricity generation systems. Germany's 1,500 megawatts could power around 15 million average American homes.
The United States ranked third in total solar power production increases for 2009. The United States' goal was to add 342 megawatts of solar electricity production capacity. That is enough energy to power around 3.4 million homes in the U.S..
South Korea added slightly less solar electricity capacity than the United States. South Korea planned a production increase of around 274 megawatts of electricity using solar energy. That is the equivalent energy consumption of 2.7 million average American homes.
Italian electrical producers planned to increase solar production by around 258 megawatts. That capacity could power the equivalent of 2.5 million American homes.
Of all of the countries planning increases of more than 100 megawatts, Japan ranked the lowest. Japan planned increases of around 230 megawatts of solar electricity production. At that level, Japan's increases in solar electricity could power 2.3 million homes in the United States.
Smaller Planned Increases
Several other countries were planning large solar electricity generation increases. The Czech Republic planned a 51 megawatt increase. Portugal planned a 50 megawatt increase while Belgium planned a 48 megawatt increase. France came in 10th in the list with a planned increase of 46 megawatts.