More than a Decade Ago…
12 years have passed since the German parliament adopted the “Renewable Energy Sources Act” — it was adopted on March 29, 2000. This law was primarily developed by Hermann Scheer, who developed the underlying concepts during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Up until his death in 2010, Dr. Scheer was one of the most significant and uncompromising proponents of renewable energy sources in Germany and around the world.
The law that gave priority to renewable energy sources guaranteed access to the grid for renewables and included a comprehensive feed-in-tariff system. It became known as “Scheers-Law” around the world. Today it has been introduced to some extent by over 60 countries and states around the globe.
Since this historic push for a 100% renewable energy supply began, there have been countless developments and success stories in the fields of clean energy and energy efficiency around the world.
Solar Energy — The Energy of the People
But the most important success of “Scheers-Law” is, without a doubt, the commercialization of photovoltaic technology. In the middle of the last decade, many companies around the world started to massively expand their production capacity for silicon and other materials required to make PV solar systems. This solar gold rush that led to investments around the globe was mainly driven by demand in Germany up until recently. The effects of this developement? Since 2009, the prices for PV solar systems have fallen by up to 70% and continue to decline.
At the Brink of a New Industrial Revolution
Today, industry experts claim that photovoltaic & multi-kWh energy storage will become the cheapest source of electricity even in OECD countries within the next 10 years.
When this happens, it will lead to a very fast structural change across the entire world economy. Huge parts of the fossil energy market, which makes up 10% of the world economy, will disappear. People around the world will become energy independent. The powerful energy corporations that dominate the fuel market will lose significant parts of their revenue… perhaps they will even get marginalized by this development as they are stuck with huge investments.
This development has just started, but with 24.5 GW of PV solar capacity installed on more than 1 million roofs in Germany, the first signs of this new industrial revolution can already be observed.
For example, even during the dark & windy winter month of January, PV solar produced up to 7 GW or 10% of peak-load demand in Germany.
When a deadly cold wave brought the fossil- and nuclear-dominated energy system of France close to collapse, German PV solar kept many gas- and oil-fired power plants offline, which significantly lowered the spot-prices at the European Energy Exchange.
Here’s a video I created for more on all this:
I am a close observer of the renewable energy revolution in my home country Germany and around the world. As a full-blooded enthusiast, I spend a lot of my spare time reading about the technological, political, social and cultural developments that drive the renewable energy revolution and their benefits to society. I studied media & computer science at university and work as a freelance graphic / interface designer. I love visualizing complex information, data, & the relationships that connect them to our world.