Spain Passed United States as Global Solar Leader Spain Passed United States as Global Solar Leader
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Spain Passed United States as Global Solar Leader

by Ben Jervey

July 21, 2010
First, Nadal hoists the trophy at Wimbledon. Then La Roja bring home the World Cup. And now Spain overtakes the United States as the world's largest producer of solar energy. Everything's coming up Espana these days. (Not to mention Alberto Contador, who's lined up nicely to be sporting yellow as Le Tour arrives in Paris next Sunday.)

The new La Florida plant in the northern state of Navarra is the world's largest solar plant, and brings Spain's total solar output to 432 megawatts. (Compare that to the United States' 422.) La Florida is a solar thermal plant (which we wrote about awhile back) that uses parabolic troughs to heat liquid in tubes, which in turn spins turbines and produces electricity.

If the United States has any hopes of taking back the top spot, we're going to have to act fast. Authorities in Spain say that they'll add another 600MW of solar energy within a year, and have a goal of 2,500MW by 2013. Spain's subsidies for solar and wind development are also amongst the tops globally. So it's no great mystery why they're leading the clean energy charge.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user Worklife Siemens

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
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Spain Passed United States as Global Solar Leader