Clean Power Germany Right On Schedule With PV Capacity Growth

Published on March 23rd, 2012 | by Charis Michelsen


Germany Right on Schedule with PV Capacity Growth

March 23rd, 2012 by  

Germany Right On Schedule With PV Capacity Growth

Energy from renewable sources instead of limited fossil fuels is the only long-term solution that currently seems viable. In order to make that shift over to depending on the sun and wind, more and more solar and wind farms must be installed. Germany is in the process of meeting its self-defined goals for renewable energy, moving along precisely as scheduled.

The Photovoltaics Task Force of Baden-Württemberg published a press release recently pointing out that Germany’s growth corridor for solar power is exactly what’s needed for the country to reach its target for renewables. The press release also outlines Germany’s master plan to switch to renewables and a roadmap the German government has been producing for the past ten years.

Stick to the Plan

Germany’s target for PV capacity is 52 gigawatts by 2020; at the end of last year, the country had around 25 gigawatts already installed. Simple math says that to reach the 52 gigawatt mark, Germany must install 27 gigawatts over nine years (including 2012), or 3 gigawatts per year. Doesn’t look challenging compared to what it’s done so far.

Also part of the renewable energy roadmap is the understanding that, for every two gigawatts of solar power installed, three gigawatts of wind power should balance it out in order to reduce the need for power storage. The PV sector, in other words, relies on the wind sector stepping up and holding up its end of the deal.

Supply and Demand

Solar panels currently have performance guarantees for 25 years. With that in mind, maintaining the PV growth corridor of 3 gigawatts per year would eventually lead to around 70 gigawatts of installed capacity. Since Germany’s solar power peaks at around 70% of full capacity, 70 gigawatts of installed capacity makes for about 50 gigawatts of actual electricity on sunny days.

However, production of 50 gigawatts is also close to peak power demand on summer weekends. If the grid is dependent on a single source for that much power, it could be disruptive in terms of long-term grid integration. While this is not specifically addressed in the press release, the demand for more wind power does indicate that they’re aware of the potential issue.

Either way, Germany is working hard to ensure it can provide its own energy and have clean sources of electricity for its populace. Any questions or comments? Let us know below!

Source: Renewables International
Image: Wikimedia Commons

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About the Author

spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissan, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.

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  • Flow batteries? yes please

    grid scale batteries should become cost effective by 2020, they could help even out intermittencies

    • lukealization

      I’d much rather prefer to rely on pumped hydropower, thanks. Grid batteries will never happen, they’re cost prohibitive, flammable, don’t store much energy, and have a limited lifespan.

      • Bob_Wallace

        You’re behind the curve on this one….

        Grid batteries are already connected and working. They store just as much energy as the individual installation is designed to store.

        Flammable – largely not so. When’s the last time you heard of a laptop or cell phone catching fire?

        Then there are technologies such as sodium-ion in which the electrolyte is basically salt water.

        Aquion, to pick a promising company has batteries going into production next year that have >5,000 cycles as tested by outside labs. They expect to produce 20,000 cycle batteries. If you used them once a day to move nighttime wind to early mornings and daytime solar to evenings (2 cycles per day) they would be 27 year batteries.

        Lifespan, not as long as pump-up, but it sure looks like utility companies think they’re likely to be the future. Number of cycles is figured into the system cost.

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