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Published on July 5th, 2012 | by Thomas Gerke


Installation of 500,000 German PV Solar Systems (Video)

July 5th, 2012 by  

This is an awesome, short video of the first big, industrial-scale push towards solar energy in human history. The video used geo-referenced data to visualize the installation of 500,000 PV solar systems all over Germany between January 2009 and September 2011. Since Germany is currently the epicenter of this global solar revolution, it’s perhaps the most dramatic look at the short period in time during which the solar capacity of the world has quadrupled.

I don’t know if future history books will tell of this development. As a solar energy enthusiast, I can’t help but wonder: Will this effort by thousands of independent small and large investors one day be remembered as one of those moments in history that precluded a massive change in human history?

Only time will tell.

Enjoy the short video! (Listen to some music if you like, as it is mute.)

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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.

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  • jburt56

    Du liegst mir im herzen!!!

  • Luke

    Wow! That’s incredible! How common is solar in Germany now though? For example, when driving along the autobahn, do you see occasional PV plants, and when driving down streets, how many houses have PV on them? 

    • ThomasGerke

      Well, it’s very common in Germany by now. 

      In total I would say 1 out of 10 buildings.  It’s more common in the south, but northern Germany is catching up. 

      When you make a longer trip by train / autobahn, you will come across several solar power plants.  Especially in the south. 

      In general rural areas, suburbs and small towns have a much higher density of solar systems than citys. Eventhough I notice that citys become increasingly “solarized” 😀

      Also a huge number of schools & kindergartens have solar systems on their roofs in Germany.  

      • Taking the train from Poland (Wroclaw) to Berlin, I saw many, many solar systems on rooftops. Don’t recall seeing any solar farms, but a lot of wind turbines as well.

        • Scott

          While traveling to Ruegen on an ICE train I saw 2 large solar farms. I wanted to get off the train so f*****g bad!! One of these was even using trackers :-O . Germany ftw!

          • haha 😀

            yeah, you should see me in such situations — Marika (my partner) has to hold me done 😀

      • Luke

         Thanks for the reply Thomas. That’s good to hear! It sounds like Germany is very close to reaching ‘mainstream’ solar, enough so that it becomes common place!

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