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Published on July 29th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz


4 Reasons Why Germany Is A Renewable Energy Success Story

July 29th, 2008 by  

–> Also see our much newer article: 10 Huge Lessons We’ve Learned From Solar Power Success In Germany. And keep an eye on all of our Germany stories to really stay up to date on Germany’s renewable energy success.


A few weeks ago, I visited Intersolar North America, an exhibition for photovoltaics, solar thermal technology, and solar thermal architecture. The exhibition, which was previously only held in Germany, had an understandably large German presence (including a large beer garden). During my time there, I stopped by the German Energy Agency booth, and was quite impressed with what I found. So, without further ado, here are 4 reasons why we should be paying a whole lot of attention to the Germany renewable energy market.

1. Germany has the world’s largest wind power sector— but had barely any notable wind power at all 16 years ago.

With over 20,600 MW of installed capacity, Germany is the world’s wind power leader. And they accomplished this feat pretty quickly, having had less than 100 MW in 1992. The second place wind leader, Spain, only has approximately 12,000 MW of capacity.

2. The country has the world’s second largest solar power market, despite having extremely cloudy weather.

Germany comes in as number 2 for solar power, with 750 MW of peak capacity as of 2006. However, it is far and away the European leader for photovoltaic capacity, with a capacity of 3063 MW. Additionally, the world’s largest solar cell producer (Q-Cells) is located there. Oh, and the country also has the largest solar thermal market in Europe.

3. Over 214,000 people work in the German domestic renewable energy industry.

With 2.3 million renewable energy workers worldwide, Germany once again takes the cake as a pioneering country. Last year, German companies accounted for 38 percent of the total wind energy market.

4. They have progressive renewable energy laws.

The German government has just agreed on a new climate change legislative package with the goal of reducing CO2 emissions up to 36 percent by 2020. German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel calls it the biggest climate change package in the world.

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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