Published on June 22nd, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown4
Germany Moving Away from Solar Parks to Rooftop Schemes
According to a recent McKinsey study, more than half of all installed solar power generation capacity worldwide could be from rooftop setups under which people generate their own electricity, rather than buying it from a typical centralized power plant.
Germany already has half of the world’s photovoltaic solar power generation capacity, and it has been aggressively pursuing solar power with great success (as our regular readers are well aware).
“Those companies who survive the current consolidation wave will experience a bright future. Especially the rooftop segment and downstream business models are expected to drive the industry forward,” stated Tobias Rothacher, photovoltaic industry expert at Germany Trade & Invest in Berlin.
The global solar industry is struggling with the fact that solar panel costs are being driven down by increased competition and economies of scale, causing their prices and profit margins to fall.
However, worldwide solar power generation capacity is expected to increase by another 400 GW to 600 GW.
“Germany has supported own consumption of solar power for years. The coming grid parity era is ushering in an era of new business opportunities. We expect Germany to continue to be the top business location, as innovations and industry standards are developed here,” according to Tobias Rothacher.
Rooftop Solar Schemes Have Potential Reliability and Cost Benefits (when you look at the big picture)
In rooftop solar schemes, solar panels are spread out over a much larger area than they would be at a typical solar power plant, at which they are normally squeezed into the smallest possible space.
Clouds are able to cover more solar panels during one pass-over if they are closer together. Spreading solar panels out over a larger area means that fewer of them will be shaded by clouds and the overall system’s power production will not decrease nearly as much.
About the cost benefit: the more solar panels there are spread over a good distance, the greater the reliability, and the less solar panels will need to be backed up with either natural gas generators or batteries, both of which are costly in multiple ways.