Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Germany Agrees: There Is A Solar-Powered Solution To Greek Debt Crisis

It was a deal that looked all but dead last year, but now Germany and Greece have formally agreed to an initiative that will enable Greece to profit from one of its most valuable natural resources: the sun. The new Germany-Greece solar power agreement calls for Germany to lend its investment dollars and its low-cost solar know-how (which we’ve been eyeballing enviously here in the U.S.) to create new green jobs in its financially strapped EU cousin, while providing that country with a sustainable export product and solve a geopolitical energy issue, to boot.

The Germany-Greece Solar Power Agreement

Greece already has the makings of a strong but slowly growing solar power sector. The Germany-Greece agreement, which was signed last Thursday, calls for Germany to take the lead in helping the country to rev up its solar power production with an investment of $319,000 (250,000 euros).

That represents one-fourth of the program’s initial phase, which was formulated by the European Union’s Task Force for Greece. Other members of the EU will chip in the rest for a total of one million euros.

Germany Beats US On Solar Power Costs

What could turn out to be far more valuable than the money, though, is Germany’s low cost solar power track record. With the benefit of German experience, Greece’s solar sector could successfully compete on the export market despite the added cost of transmission infrastructure.

We’ve been reporting on the relatively low cost of German solar power here at CleanTechnica for a while now. Among the articles we’ve put up is a little nugget from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which published a detailed comparison of solar power costs between Germany and the U.S. last fall.

Overall, the installed cost of a residential solar power array in Germany comes in at around $3.00 per watt, while in the U.S. a similar array would cost about double that, at $6.19 per watt.

At least part of the reason has to do with the “soft costs” of solar power including permits, inspections, grid connections, and everything other than the hardware itself.

The Obama Administration has been pursuing a goal of $1.00 per watt for installed solar power (that would translate into about six cents per kWh) through the SunShot Initiative.  SunShot is a broad-ranging public-private program that includes private sector incentives to reduce soft costs such as the Rooftop Challenge, as well as funding for foundational research to improve solar cell efficiency.

Geopolitics And Sustainable Energy

One of our favorite things to do is add up the “twofer” benefits of renewable energy, and the Germany-Greek deal pushes it out into the geopolitical realm.

Creating new green jobs in Greece and providing that country with a valuable, sustainable and competitive export to help get its finances on track is all well and good, but what’s really interesting is the creation of a significant new energy producer within the EU. That could help offset EU’s natural gas dependency on Russia, which suffers from instability and prices spikes, further complicated by relations between Russian and its neighbors, most notably Ukraine.

CleanTechnica first noticed that something could be in the works between the German and Greek solar markets back in 2011, but the idea almost sputtered out in 2012, when Germany had second thoughts about a head-to-head competition between its domestic solar industry and Greek imports.

Clean Vs Dirty Energy Exports

Not for nuthin’ but while 21st century geopolitics came down on the side of clean energy in the EU, here in the U.S. we’re still spinning our wheels in the mid-20th century fuel export scenario.

As our domestic sustainable energy production revs up here, we’re seeing more pressure to increase U.S. petroleum, coal and natural gas exports. We’re also seeing more pressure to use our ports for fossil fuel exports from Canada, most notably in the form of “dirty” tar sands oil through the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

Instead of a twofer, we’re getting increased risks here in the U.S. from the continued impacts of mountaintop coal mining, natural gas fracking and oil pipeline transportation.

In the most recent Keystone development, our friends over at The Hill report that U.S. Representative Lee Terry (R-Nebraska) referred to approval of the Keystone pipeline as a “no-brainer,” just days after an existing Exxon pipeline ruptured and sent thousands of barrels of crude tar sands oil from Canada spilling into a residential neighborhood in Arkansas.

Maybe that could pass for a no-brainer in the 20th century, but good luck with that in 2013.

Follow me on Google+ and Twitter

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Spoutible.


You May Also Like


The auto market in Germany saw plugin EVs take 22.9% share in May 2023, down from 25.3% year on year. Full electrics gained share,...

Clean Power

The silicon wafer NexWafe says buh-bye kerf, hello low-cost, lightweight, flexible solar cells.


The overall German auto market had a positive month in April (+13% year over year), with BEVs being the highlight (+34% YoY). There were...

Clean Power

I recently wrote about tiltable, portable solar panels that are ideal for agrivoltaic installations. Scaling down from the farm to the garden level, another...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.