Yes, we’ve covered how German solar is bringing down the price of electricity on the electricity market 3-4 times now. But here’s one more piece on that with a few fun charts and facts. You’re going to have to pay close attention on this one, though — there’s a lot of “not how it should” be going on.
First thing to note: “German power consumption peaks twice a day, roughly between 12 noon and 1 PM and then later in the evening at around 8 PM,” Craig Morris of Renewables International writes, in a story translated from a Photon (German) article.
Now, while demand dips in between those peaks, it doesn’t go so low as in the dead of night. As such, this is was an electricity spot market price graph from March 2008:
While electricity prices rise in the early morning (4am to 8am) as demand rises, from about 8am to 9pm, the price is pretty level.
Now, fast forward to March 2012:
We again see prices rise from the early morning to about 8 or 9am, but then look at what happens when the sun (and its 25 GW of power capacity from solar panels) kick in — the price drops off a cliff, diving even deeper than the price of electricity in the dead of night!
Basically, simple supply and demand tells you that supply kicks in at around the same time demand kicks in, making electricity prices lower than they would be if supply didn’t grow like that.
Now, something else to note is that nighttime prices are quite a bit higher in 2012 than in 2008, nearly twice as high! Craig notes: “Given that baseload demand has hardly changed, it must be assumed that power companies are charging more in times of lower demand now that they cannot make their old profits during daylight hours.” Hmm…
One last thought: we, humans, generally wake with the sun and sleep when the sun goes down (OK, very generally these days, but it’s still the general pattern). Doesn’t it make sense to match our electricity source with that sun a bit more? Of course it does, as the graph above helps to show. Thomas Edison would have been proud (and making good money off of his forethought):