Clean Power

Published on June 12th, 2012 | by Thomas Gerke


Awesome Graphs — Today’s Solar & Wind Power Relevance in Germany

June 12th, 2012 by  

I found these awesome graphs and charts that illustrate the electricity production patterns of solar and wind power in Germany in 2012. They are being published by the Fraunhofer ISE and are updated regularly it seems, as they are currently up-to-date.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) is the largest institute of applied science specialized on solar energy utilization in Europe. It was founded in 1981 and has been the source of innovation and scientific breakthroughs ever since.

Some Outstanding Graphs

The first image showcases the awesome complementary nature of wind and solar power generation over a monthly period. This is something very important one has to keep in mind, especially when people suggest a “technology neutral” policy of incentives/subsidies aimed at introducing renewable energy generation into the power mix. Knowing about this complementary nature makes arguments like “we should only support cost-efficient (wind) methods of power generation” sound rather silly, at least when the goal is a 100% renewable energy system.

The second image shows the first week of 2012 when windpower basicly created a 7-day weekend for fossil/nuclear power plants.

The third image shows the record breaking week in May when solar power produced as much electricity as 20 nuclear power plants during peak hours.

Not enough data visualization for you? Then you can access the complete set of charts here.

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About the Author

is a close observer of the scientific, political and economic energy debate in Germany and around the globe. Inspired by the life's work of the renewable energy advocate Hermann Scheer, Thomas focuses on spreading information that showcase the possibilities & opportunities of a 100% renewable energy system. Though technology is key for this energy shift, he also looks at the socio-economic benefits and the political, as well as structural barriers.

  • Ross

    Thomas, could you write about the so called “dash for coal” in Germany and if it is real or just a fantasy of conventional power vested interests? Also are the reports of gas generation coming under pressure from renewables on one side and coal on the other accurate?

  • What it says is that  solar power at about $US2800/kW and wind power at, probably, more than $2000/kW, provide a lot less than installed capacity and the monthly maximum and annual overall capacity factors are truly pathetic.  Solar + wind average 6.5 GWh per month for an installed capacity of 90,000 MW.  At 100 % capacity factor it would generate 66 GWh per month.  So the overall capacity factor is 10%.  Average cost is $2,500/kW.  Nuclear stations costing $22,000/kW would produce power at the same cost – without any allowance for backup capacity and transmission needed for wind and solar. Pushes it up to $25,000/kW at least. They must be seriously crazy!  The fact that global warming has stopped and may be on a decline makes it even crazier.

    • Bryan, can you tell me how much human activity has increased atmospheric CO2 levels by in the past couple of hundred years?  An approximate value is fine.

    • I’m asking because I’ve never met anyone who claimed that global had stopped or was on a decline who knew the answer.  That is, they did not know the most basic facts about climate change and so did not know what they were talking about.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Bryan, I want to see the data on which you base  your claim that global warming has stopped.  

      I don’t find any of your claims credible and this should be the easiest for you to support.

      Please show us the science.

  • Pieter

    Altough I applaud the fact that Germany is getting greener (or at least local production is), I think with this type of data it is only fair to mention that Germany is a huge energy (in different forms but one of them being electricity)  importer. This energy comes mainly from not eco-friendly plants or nuclear plants abroad (France).
    Next to that it is also worth mentioning that the ‘traditional’ energy production in Germany is very harmfull with mainly coal and natural gas plants supplying the market. This is a step in the right direction but don’t be shortsighted, there is still a lot of work to do!
    greetings from your neigbouring country Belgium (which is a total disaster concerning green thinking)

    • ThomasGerke

      Hi Pieter,

      indeed Germany has light and shadows…
      When it comes to power production the lignite mines & powerplants are a shameful testament of that reality. Recently the current government has even begun to slow energy efficiency measures on the EU level. 🙁 Very sad and pointless. Dunno where they are going, lobbyism at it’s “best” I assume.

      It should be noted though, that Germany is a net exporter of electricity (page 8 & 9 of the report). While it’s true that imports of electricity from France & Czech have increased at times, especially at night.  It’s also true that importing & exporting energy has always been a reality. When looking at historic data, only the amount of exported power has increased significantly…
      What’s new is the fact that Germany exports huge amounts of peak-load power due to windy and/or sunny days. That’s in a way greening the power supply of many neighbouring country by reducing the power load of midload & peakload coal, gas & oil power stations. 

      That said. It’s certainly a long way ahead… but the more solar capacity, the sooner those lignite powerstations will be pushed out of the system… hopefully.

      • slowing energy efficiency makes no sense whatsoever… what a diff world we would live in if politicians did their jobs

        • ThomasGerke

          The problem is, that the current government is dominated by idiots… I mean they are dominated by people who believe that increasing energy efficency & decentralized renewable energy capacity is a burden to the economy. 

          Eventhough we witnessed incraedible price hikes for fossil fuels this year. 

          The debate is currently extremly toxic and dishonest here, as a massive campaign by the fossil/nuclear lobby and their think-alikes rains down on the public and I asume especially on the conservative politicans. 

          It’s like a war between conventional energy mythology and renewable energy facts. Due to the situation in Germany, this battle is fought with alot more sophisticated “weapons” so to speak… but they are just as dishonest as the “solar doesn’t work” or “there isn’t enough renewable energy potential” nonsense. 

          It’s an exciting time with really aggressive anti-renewable attacks and surprising alliances that arise to defend them. 
          In the meantime solar capacity seems to be on track for way more than 5 GW this year… bringing the moment of  baseload-annihilation closer and closer. *muhahaha*

  • jburt56

    Look like wind and solar are complementary in their output profiles.  Grim news for naysayers everywhere!!

  • Ross

    What’s the Solar output in Germany today? I’m curious because I’m in Munich at the moment and it is cloudy & wet.

    • ThomasGerke

      About 12.2 GW peak output and propably 110 GWh of electricity production. No Record but still about 7-8% of total power consumption.

      Are you at the Intersolar trade fair? 

      • OshaDavidson

         Hi Thomas. Where did you get that 110 GWh figure? I’m curious because I’d like to be able to see data like that in real time.

        • ThomasGerke

          The European Energy Exchange has a transparency website. You can find it at It’s a very nice source, btw the same source the Fraunhofer ISE used. 

          Actual production data usually comes in 2-3 hours in delay, but I used the predictions for the 110 GWh number as they seem to be very accurate today. 

          • OshaDavidson

             Cool, danke!

      • Ross

        That’s a respectable amount considering the weather.

        I’m at the Alcatel-Lucent SRexperts conference. Networking/Internet pays my bills. Greentech is just an interest.

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