Global Green USA releases Global Solar Report Card

Global Green USA, on behalf of President Gorbachev’s Green Cross International (GCI), today released the results of its second annual Global Solar Report Card, which evaluates solar energy policies in sixteen countries. Only Germany received an A, but Italy, Japan, Greece and China received higher grades than last year. The full report can be found at

The report, which was released for the first time last year by Green Cross International Founder Mikhail Gorbachev, is a first-of-its-kind country-by-country evaluation of solar energy policies. The aim of the report is to raise awareness among policymakers, media and the public-at-large by grading the effectiveness of each country’s policies every year. 
“Solar is a key strategic investment that can help combat energy poverty to create economic growth and help fight climate change,” said Matt Petersen, President and CEO of Global Green USA. “We need governments to shift subsidies for oil, gas and coal toward solar and renewable technologies to create jobs, improve the lives of those in need, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report card enables us to see which countries are doing exactly that and which countries still need to strengthen their solar programs.”
“Global Green’s 2009 Global Solar Report Card provides world leaders gathered in Copenhagen with an accurate and essential perspective on the progress – or lack thereof – toward developing solar energy as a key piece of how we solve the climate crisis and address energy poverty,” said Edward Norton, Global Green board member. “Sadly, the report card points out that most nations still have a long way to go toward harvesting the full potential of solar as a clean, renewable energy source.”
16 countries were graded (see listing below). California was also graded independently since it is the largest solar market in the U.S. Over the next year or so, Global Green USA will expand the report to include additional developing nations, as well as to include funding of solar by developed nations and/or removal of barriers for increasing solar in the developing world.
Highlights of the Solar Report Card:
  • Only one A in Germany – Germany (A-) again got the highest grade.
  • Who doesn’t love California and Italy? – California and Italy (B-), experienced almost 400% annual growth in installed capacity.
  • Who got an F? – Poland and Russia, with governments focused marginally on other renewable energy sources and no PV-specific incentives in place, once again received failing (F) grades.
  • Who’s Going up – Six (6) countries received higher grades relative to 2008: Italy, Japan, Greece, China, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, though for the last two countries the higher grade was the result of a new grading scheme and not new or better incentives.
  • Who fell behind? – Australia and India both fell from C to C-. Incentives are plentiful in both countries, but often lack cohesion or long-term predictability.
  • 3 countries not making the grade – China (despite new programs), the United Kingdom and Canada all scored a D, suffering from a lack of incentives that are sufficient in size or scope to encourage meaningful growth.
  • Small nations, small programs – Switzerland and Israel, the smallest nations evaluated, both scored a D-.  Switzerland’s program suffers from a lack of funding, and Israel’s program is too limited.
The Global Solar Report Card by Global Green USA outlines successes and failures of 16 countries (and the state of California’s) in designing promising policy frameworks for sustained solar development. The study compiles information on financial incentives and aspects of the regulatory infrastructure available for solar PV at the national level; for countries with federal systems, state-level or provincial incentives are also taken into account. It finds all countries still in the early phases of solar deployment, even Germany, which is currently setting the pace. 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 (56 points for financial incentives, 12 points for regulatory incentives and 2 points for educational and advocacy efforts). The suite of incentives offered by each country is evaluated for coverage (are residential, commercial and industrial sectors included?), effectiveness (are the incentives compelling enough to adopt solar PV?), alignment (how well do the incentives work with each other?) and sustainability (when will it run out of funds?). The study also looks at solar PV capacity installed in 2008, as well as cumulative totals.
About Global Green USA
Global Green USA is the American affiliate of Green Cross International. For the last fifteen years, Global Green has been a champion of solar power as a smart climate solution and has helped influence state and national legislation to create incentives for solar power – particularly to benefit low-income families and communities. Global Green is building The Holy Cross Project with lead funding support from the Home Depot Foundation, the first solar powered, net-zero energy housing development in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. Global Green sponsored the first in the nation Residential Buildings Zero Net Energy Bill in California, and recently provided the technical expertise and resources to help build the first solar powered net-zero affordable housing complexes in California, the Solar and Los Vecinos.
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