I have just returned from a great holiday in Germany and was struck by the number of solar panels on buildings and houses there. When we visited Saxon Switzerland, we stayed in the Hotel Erbgericht which not only had solar panels on the roof, but also had a few free standing panels around the back of hotel. All of the newish or under-construction houses we passed had panels on the roofs as did many of the older houses.
Unsurprising, solar power generation is much higher in Germany than in the UK. According to Wikipedia, Germany produces 18,000 megawatts compared to the UK, which produces a measly 200 megawatts. Although, Germany is a sunnier place than most of us inselaffen believe, I suspect the German traits of efficiency and love of nature have a lot to do with their solar power adoption.
For all the UK government’s talk of a green revolution and economy the UK has a long way to catch up with Germany. We spent a few days in Kassel (a small city in central Germany). Not only do lots of the buildings in the city centre have solar panels but lots of the people in the city work in the solar power industry. One of the biggest employers (with over 5,000 employees) is SMA Solar Technology. The government has finally introduced a feed-in tariff in the UK, so hopefully we will see much more solar power in the UK in future.