70 Percent of Europeans Would Back Renewable Energy

A recent survey by the European Commission titled “Attitudes of Europeans towards air quality” has found that seven out of ten Europeans prefer renewable energy over traditional alternatives. Less than ten percent of those surveyed expressed a preference for fossil fuels. However, 18% of Europeans still maintain that nuclear should be considered a priority energy source.

Gain acceptance in the world: Solar solutions©Steve Jacobs

Renewable energies: Trailing behind, Romania and Bulgaria

The results by country show that acceptance and awareness of renewable energies like photovoltaic or wind power is highest in Portugal at 82%, followed closely by Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Spain (each 81%). A few have much lower regard for renewables, notably Romania (49%) and Bulgaria (45%), where less than half the survey participants recommended renewables as a priority. The Europe-wide average lies at 70%.

A center of interest which is drawing more and more attention is energy efficiency. The Europe-wide average for agreement that energy efficiency should receive a priority focus is at 28%. Here, Slovakia is the leader with 44%, and trailing the pack is Cyprus with only 18%.

Support for nuclear energy Europe-wide at 18%

Nuclear energy is supported above all by the Czech Republic. 44% of Czechs surveyed believe nuclear to be an energy source worth supporting, followed by Sweden with 33%. In Germany nuclear gained an approval rate of only 8%, with the lowest endorsements coming from Austria and Cyprus at 4% each. The overall European average is 18%.

Also of interest is that 33% of Poles name shale-gas as a priority. Estimations place Poland over the largest shale-gas reserves in Europe, and Poland is interested in stepping up extraction via the fiercely debated fracking technique. In all other European countries approval of this means of energy production lies under 11%, Italy, Sweden and Finland being the most opposed at 3%.

Conventional fossil fuel energy providers seem to no longer have a place within the European energy mindset. A union-wide approval average of 8%, with a maximum of 19% in Lithuania, demonstrates that not even one in ten Europeans would name conventional energy production as a priority. Especially low is the support from Sweden, Slovenia, Italy and Poland (4% each).

Men support nuclear energy more than women do

Socio-demographic analyses of the survey show that men are more likely to prefer nuclear power than women (23% vs. 13%). Among participants over 55, energy efficiency (24%) and renewable energies ( 65%) also find fewer supporters.

Education also plays a large role. Only 59% of those polled who ended their education at 15 or earlier indicate renewable energies as a focus, as opposed to 75% of those educated until age 20.

Sources: Europäische Kommission (Attitudes of Europeans towards air quality report)

Photovoltaic in the USA: New Jersey

State: New Jersey
Area: 22,588 km²
Population: 8.8 Mio.
Percentage of Renewable Electricity: 8.8%
Installed Photovoltaic: 900 MW

Übersicht über den PV-Markt von New JerseyNew Jersey is the fourth smallest state in the United States of America. Nevertheless, it is home to 8.8 million inhabitants, making New Jersey the most densely populated state in the entire US. The state lies just south of New York NY, North America’s most populous city. Trenton is the state capital with 84,000 inhabitants.

Second largest Photovoltaic Market in the USA

Despite its small size, with over 900 MW of installed PV capacity New Jersey is tied with Arizona for the second largest solar energy market in the USA. Ample state incentives have resulted in many solar manufacturers setting up their production facilities there.

In New Jersey municipalities, businesses and private land owners are investing heavily in roof-top photovoltaic installations.

Sonne gibt es in New Jersey auch für Photovoltaik

Sunset on a Beach in New Jersey

Photovoltaic Policy and Renewable Energy Goals

The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirements of New Jersey are some of the most aggressive in the entire USA. By Energy Year 2021, 22.5% of electricity produced in New Jersey will come from renewable energy sources. At least 1,100 MW is required to be sourced from off-shore windparks. Additionally, at least 4.1% of purchased electricity will have to come from Solar sources by 2028.

Electricity providers can meet these requirements by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), similar to the system in place in California. Solar Energy Credits (SRECs) are distinguished from other RECs to facilitate the completion of the 4.1% solar energy carve-out.

For windpower, biomass and fuel cell factories, there are additional subsidies  through the Renewable Energy Incentive Program.

New Jersey also has a Net-Metering program, through which residential PV system owners obtain credit according to the electricity they feed into the grid.

Finally, sales tax exemptions exist for the purchase of solar modules for installation.

Further programs and campaigns for Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy

Investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy are also subsidized through New Jersey’s Clean Energy Fund. For 2001-2012, the fund made $2.4 Billion available.


Series Photovoltaic in the USA:

1. Photovoltaic in the United States of America (USA) – An Introduction
2. California
3. New Jersey

Sources:, DSIRE,,


Snowboard company integrates photovoltaic modules in a snowboard!

This is one of the most unusual ideas, using the advances in the photovoltaic industry. The workers of Signal Snowboard (a firm specialised in an artistic design of snowboards and snowboarding equipment) have covered a snowboard with really thin layer of solar cells. Thanks to that, small devices could be recharged during snowboarding.

Photovoltaic modules do not change the properties of a snowboard

Since the applied thin layers of solar cells are more flexible than commercially-used snowboards, the use of modified board does not feel different than usually. And of course such snowboard can be used as a charger for electronic devices also when one does not snowboard on it. For instance: on the way back to hotel with a car, when the board rests on roof luggage rack. It seems like a cool idea to snowboard with your own mini-solar installation!

In the following video, the workers of Signal Snowboards show how this snowboard is being constructed.




Photovoltaic in the USA: California

State: California California Renewables PV Solar USA
Area: 423,970 km²
Population: 37.2 Million
Share of renewable energies in the electricity consumption: 20.6%
Installed capacity of photovoltaic: 1,406 MW
In South-West of the USA lies the most densely populated state of the country – California – with more than 37,2 inhabitants. The capital of California is Sacramento. The biggest city of California is by far Los Angeles with around 3,8 million residents. Additionally, San Francisco counts to the most popular cities of California.

Expected increase in the number of big-scale PV projects

Expected increase in the number of big-scale PV projects

The biggest photovoltaic market in the United States

California is the 8th biggest economy in the world. Many institutes and universities of this region have focused their research on renewable energies. At the moment the installed capacity of photovoltaic systems amounts to 1,406 MW. However, there are altogether 15 GW of installations in the planning or building phase. Within this capacity there are mostly big-scale projects of 1MWp or more.

Within the USA, California is the biggest market for photovoltaic. Next to the biggest installed capacity of PV, there are numerous factories and manufacturing plants of photovoltaic modules and systems.

Directives for energy providers of renewable energies

California has imposed directives on its energy providers, determining the share of renewable energies in their total electricity production. Until 2020, the energy concerns have to produce 33% of its electricity for renewable energy sources. There are two intermediate levels defined: 20% has to be reached already by 2013, and 25% by 2016. This directive is called Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

However, the energy providers can partially cover the required percentage by purchasing renewable energy from electrical power station through the so-called Tradable Renewable Energy Credits (TRECs). Nonetheless, the share of energy bought in such way cannot exceed 25% by 2013 and 10% by 2017 of the entire renewable energies’ share required by RPS.

Feed-In-Tariffs and financial support

PV and Solar is also existent in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Photography by Niewiroski Jr.

The Feed-in-Tarifs (FiTs) in California, determined by the California Public Utilities Comission (CPUC), allow the private owners of renewable energy power stations with the capacity up to 3 megawatts to enter FIT contracts of 10, 15 and 20 years. The produced electricity will be sold on the basis of market-determined price – Re-Mat (Renewable Market Adjustment Tariff). The starting bid lies at $89.23 (€68.2234) per megawatt hour (MWh).

Public energy producers, which have more than 75,000 customers, have to additionally implement the feed in tariffs programmes until 1st July 2013 according to the given directives. These compensation tariffs are available until the cumulative capacity of 750MW (equally for private as well as public generating plants) is reached. Bio-energy has its own allowed capacity of 250MW, but only from the private users.

 Further programmes and campaigns

The Go Solar California! campaign supports all sorts of solar energy generating plants through various  discounts and subsidies with a total budget of $ 3.3 billion (€ 2.52 billion).  Additionally there are numerous financing possibilities for renewable energies offered by different programmes and institutions.

On top of that many cities, communes and regions in California offer countless discounts as well as aid and support schemes for renewable energies.

Series Photovoltaic in the USA:

1. Photovoltaic in the United States of America (USA) – An Introduction
2. California
3. New Jersey

Sources : DSIRE, Treehugger,

Photovoltaic in the United States of America (USA) – An Introduction

While the USA is currently the second largest market in the world for Wind Power it is still lagging behind in PV, despite superb conditions in the lower 48 States and Hawaii. So far. If you take a look at the projects under construction or development, you realize that this could change within a very short period of time. Add to that the expected output of these planned solar installations and you come to the conclusion that the USA will soon be among the top PV power generating countries, even overtaking Germany.

Solar in the USA PV Milk the Sun©Pgiam.jpg

Legislative Problems

The USA, third largest country in the world, consists of 50 states. Each of these states has its own, independent laws regarding renewable energy and photovoltaic. Parties interested in building, purchasing or investing in photovoltaic plants here must first know these state by state differences, and possess an especially deep understanding of the state in which they are interested. Even at this level there is more research to do, as individual communities and cities often have their own incentives, feed-in-tariffs and regulations for photovoltaic installations. Case in point, when FiTs were first enacted in the USA in 2008, they addressed only one city; Gainesville, Florida.

Each state also has its own individual goals for renewable energy development, independent of any overall mandate from the White House in Washington DC. California and Colorado have set themselves the goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020. Iowa has strengthened its wind power portfolio, which currently accounts for nearly 20% of its energy.

Concentration on Individual States

Although minimum irradiation exceeds 1200 kWh/m² almost everywhere in the USA, due to varying FiTs and incentive programs the development of photovoltaic energy is concentrated in only a few states. The largest market in the States, by a long shot, is California, followed by Arizona and New Jersey. The irradiation in the southern states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas is, on average, greater than 1950 kWh/m².

Pumpjacks PV Solar Energy United StatesCountrywide Outlook

A nationwide outlook for energy change and photovoltaic in the United States of America must focus on the prevailing political and economic attitudes. Many green groups are setting their hopes on the reelected president Barack Obama, who already in his first term worked to lessen the dependence of the USA on fossil fuels. Standing against him, however, is a strong Republican opposition known for their heavy oil lobby.

New oil and gas extraction methods and technologies are enabling the growth of the USA’s energy export, which weakens the position of renewable energies. The USA is expected to rise to market leadership in oil production very soon. In this light an energy shift to the extent that Germany is currently experiencing seems unrealistic. Nevertheless, the advantages of renewable energy are unavoidable, and the movement for alternative energy is gaining steam in the States. The USA will most certainly be playing a leading role in photovoltaic in the coming years.

In the coming weeks, Milk the Sun will be putting individual states from the USA under the magnifying glass. Check back for detailed information regarding the status of Renewable Energy/Photovoltaic policy and development on a state by state basis.

Series Photovoltaic in the USA:

1. Photovoltaic in the United States of America (USA) – An Introduction
2. California
3. New Jersey



Don't miss our newsletter!

Did you like what you were reading? Subscribe to our newsletter and always be up to date.

Your data will be handled in confidence.