How the Sun Drives Us: Photovoltaics in the US and Germany

TitleHow the Sun Drives Us: Photovoltaics in the US and Germany
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsHyde, Alison
Academic DepartmentEnvironemental Science, College of Science
Thesis AdvisorHetherington, Dr. William
DegreeBachelor of Sceince in International Studies in Environmental Science
Number of Pages67
Date Published03/2006
UniversityOregon State University
Thesis TypeUndergraduate
Keywordscomparison, Environmental Science, Germany, photovoltaics, renewable energy, solar

With the realization that traditional means of providing useful energy have formidable environmental and economical repercussions, many countries have begun to explore more benign and sustainable energy sources-renewable. Photovoltaics (PV), a sub-group of renewable energy technologies, convert incident solar radiation into electrical power. Germany, the US and Japan are racing to attain and maintain global PV prowess. Global leadership guarantees the leading nation the economical benefits of a booming technological industry, a secure, reliable energy source, and a limitless, environmentally responsible energy.
As Germany and the United States are two very politically and economically influential nations with sophisticated industrial sectors and substantial populations to power, it is only fitting that these countries be in the forefront of a PV revolution. This thesis compares the federal efforts made by the German and the American governments to support the technological development, market integration and implementation of PV technology. It examines the resulting state of each nation’s industry and considers why, despite having nearly twice the solar resource of Germany and 28 times more land on which it falls, the US is trailing behind Germany.