Looking at the percentage of electricity generated by solar in the energy mix, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain come out on top, with 23 per cent, 19 per cent and 17 per cent respectively during summer 2022.
Greece is typically a top performer here too, recently celebrating generating 100 per cent of its electricity from renewables for the first time (albeit for only five hours).
The countries where solar is rapidly taking off tend to be smaller and concentrated in Eastern Europe. Poland has increased its solar generation since 2018 by a whopping 26 times with Finland and Hungary also rolling the renewable out at pace.
Surprisingly, the leaderboard doesn’t match up to which countries are the sunniest. Political backing and cultivating the right economic climate for solar is more important than ‘irradiance’ levels. Even in the middle of Sweden, solar still makes sense. But some politicians are still finding ways to cast solar fields in a bad light, within a wider trend of climate action being politicised. While still competing with Liz Truss to become UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak vowed that he would not see “swathes of our best farmland [lost] to solar farms.”
This is despite ground-mounted solar panels currently covering just 0.1 per cent of all land in the UK, well behind that dedicated to golf courses.

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