Gorbachev Calls for More Solar, Grades Nations

Green Cross International and former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev are urging world leaders and the private sector to make big investments in solar energy to help the world economy recover from the current economic crisis and as part of a response to climate change.

“The oil industry is a key stakeholder. Their commitment is essential to turn the tide against the massive accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” Gorbachev said. “This economic crisis must mark the beginning of a new sustainable development path that has been long overdue. Solar power needs big investments to expand and create significant effects. For the 2 billion people currently living without electricity, the sun is the best hope.”

Speaking to a crowd in San Antonio, Texas about the potential that tapping solar energy holds, Gorbachev referred to the just-released Global Solar Report Card, analyzing 16 countries’ investments in solar energy.

The Global Solar Report Card by Green Cross International and its American affiliate, Global Green USA outlines successes and failures in 16 countries’ and the state of California’s efforts in designing policy frameworks for solar development. The ranking is based on a 100-point system that allocates a maximum of 30 points to the amount of solar installed so far, and the remaining 70 points to drivers for future growth.

The following are some of the highlights of the analysis:

  • Germany (A-), which scored highest being the country with most PV installed and having put finished with only 70 out of a 100 possible points.
  • The state of California (B), also scored well in 2nd place, having implemented a 10-year $3 billion rebate program for solar.
  • Spain (C+), which saw tremendous growth since 2007, overtook the US in 2008 as the 3rd country with the most installed PV.
  • The United States (C+), with the extension of its only federal-level financial support for solar, assured a much needed long term commitment to the sector.
  • Countries such as Italy (C+), France (C+) and Greece (C-) fare moderately because of still young markets, but all earn points for putting in place substantial drivers for growth.
  • With recent policy changes, Australia (C) missed an opportunity to put in place a considered federal-level policy to capitalize on tremendous solar resources and spur significant investment in the country’s solar sector.
  • Japan (C), once the leading country in terms of both production and installed capacity, scored low after ending its flagship program in 2005.
  • China (D-), which seems committed to developing a clean energy infrastructure, has set ambitious targets and put in place a comprehensive renewable energy policy framework. However, the country scores poorly here because up until March 23rd, the specifics for solar PV were unclear.
  • Finally, countries that rate poorly in the study are Russia (F) and Poland (F), with no solar markets and no mechanisms to capitalize on their solar potential, and to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom (D-) with a very small market and no significant support for solar growth at this time.

For more details, or to download the entire report, click here.

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