China leads the world in solar power technology

According to a new report from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), there were 37 gigawatts worth of new solar panels installed worldwide in 2013. This exceeded even the highest of industry expectations, as solar industry analyzer NBD Solarbuzz projected that there would only be 36 gigawatts across the globe. Though they were relatively accurate, this has not stopped the organization from making an even bolder prediction: In 2014, there will be 49 gigawatts worth of solar panels constructed.

Though some European countries found their numbers falling from 2012 to 2013, there were plenty that saw gains in the solar energy market. Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom and Romania all saw a greater number of solar panels built last year over the year before. China has claimed the top spot, making up a majority of the solar panels that were built with 11.3 gigawatts alone. This towers over the clean energy investments made by the second-place Japan (6.9 gigawatts) and third-place United States (4.8 gigawatts).

There are several factors that could be responsible for the European decline in solar panel installations, which has given rise to dominance in this arena by the Asian markets. Many industry analysts believe the future of clean energy – including solar power and the development of new technologies – exists in China and Japan, instead of Europe.

"In a number of European countries, harsh support reduction, retrospective measures and unplanned changes to regulatory frameworks that badly affect investors' confidence and PV investments viability have led to a significant market decrease," stated Gaëtan Masson, head of business intelligence for EPIA told reporters.

While the world wrestles with where solar power and clean energy can go, there is plenty that homeowners in the Virginia and Maryland area can do to improve energy efficiency in their own uses. Contact Alban Inspections to schedule an appointment for a home inspection, which can help you determine places around the house where you can cut back on energy consumption.