Solar energy: World's fastest-growing energy source

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Washington, Jan 2 (UNI) Solar energy is the world's fastest-growing energy source, with production of photovoltaics (solar cells) doubling every two years, according to a new report.

Figures issued by the Earth Policy Institute showed global production of photovoltaics jumped to 3800MW worldwide in 2007, up an estimated 50 per cent from 2006.

Institute researcher Jonathan Dorn said, ''Growing by an impressive average of 48 per cent each year since 2002, photovoltaic production has been doubling every two years, making it the world's fastest-growing energy source.'' The top five solar cell-producing countries were Japan, China, Germany, Taiwan, and the US.

The country with the fastest growth was China, with more than 400 companies producing solar cells, taking it from one per cent of global market share in 2003 to more than 18 per cent last year.

China tripled its photovoltaic production in 2006 and more than doubled it last year.

Dr Dorn said, ''Having eclipsed Germany in 2007 to take the No 2 spot, China is now on track to become the No 1 photovoltaics producer in 2008.'' Suntech Power, a Chinese solar energy company, is now the world's biggest solar cell manufacturer, with four factories and more than 4000 employees.

Photovoltaics use silicon-based solar cells and thin layers of photo-sensitive material to directly convert sunlight into electricity.

UNI XC SKB DS1322

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