Community Solar

Published on September 13th, 2013 | by Adam Johnston


German Adds 313 MW Of Solar Energy In July

September 13th, 2013 by  

Germany  added to its solar capacity in July.

According to PV Magazine, 313 MW was added in July. This year alone  2,110 MW of new solar capacity have gone up in the European country.

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Image Credit: Solar Plants and Blue Sky via Shutterstock

Since 2009, 34.5 GW of PV energy has been installed, ranking as one of the global leaders in solar power. Its been another good year so far for the solar giants as wel. We reported in July that Germany broke a power output record with 23.9 GW, which previously stood at 22.68 GW in April.

So why does Germany continue to lead the way?

One reason is its feed-in tariffs (FIT’s). This policy has provided strong support for the German solar market. In fact John Farrell noted back in 2011 that most solar projects use feed in tariffs. Farrell goes further on to explain why they are successful, not just in Germany, but also other areas in the world:

The basic premise of the feed-in tariff is that the electric utility must connect any wind turbine or solar panel (or other generator) to the grid and buy all the electricity via a long-term contract with a public price.  It’s use in Germany and its simplicity have led to mass local ownership of renewable energy in that country.

In the U.S., the policy is spreading, having been adopted by multiple municipal utilities in Florida, Indiana, and California as well as states including Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Vermont.

Now, if only more jurisdictions in North America would adopt solar FIT’s, the world would be a much more sunnier place.

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About the Author

is expected to complete the Professional Development Certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto by December 2017. Adam recently completed his Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College Continuing & Online Learning. Adam also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a three-year B.A. combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications in 2011. Adam owns a part-time tax preparation business. He also recently started up Salay Consulting and Social Media services, a part-time business which provides cleantech writing, analysis, and social media services. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or check out his business

  • Wayne Williamson

    Only one comment on your post Adam Grant(probably should be more). I’ve wondered about the posting date thing and then I look at the title in the web browser and wala…there is the date…although I still would like the date at the top of the article….

    • Wayne Williamson

      Only reason I top posted was discus initially wasn’t recognizing me….sorry..

  • The headline: “German Adds 313 MW Of Solar Energy In July” was REALLY badly composed. Aside from it should read something like “solar generation capacity” rather than “energy, ” using the singular “German” makes it sound like one really industrious dude really worked his behind off in July installing solar panels on his evidently gargantuan roof.

    That said, it is becoming like a scratched record to hear this about Germany every month, but it’s very good news nevertheless.

    Here in the US, with a current Solar PV capacity of about 1%, and an average compound growth rate of 65%, means that if the same rate of growth is maintained, we would hit 100% solar PV capacity well before 2030. Remember, in exponential growth curves, 1% is the halfway mark – It only takes 7 more doubling iterations to reach 100%+.

    • Adam Grant

      This raises the question of how best to present information about ongoing processes. The interesting and informative site “The Oil Drum” will soon stop adding new content, not because peak oil theory is wrong, but because their points have been made and it’s now more a matter of watching the resource depletion story play out.
      As a web application developer, I’d take a dashboard approach – give Germany a permanent location in a sidebar that can expand into charts showing changes in its energy mix and position in the nascent installation horse race between it, the Chinese and the Americans. Every month the data is updated, and during the week of the update the Germany box sports an attention-getting style cue. Text articles elucidating the evolution of the story should all be threaded and link to the same master set of automatically-updated graphs.

      The ongoing dialogue with fossil fuel shills is also like watching the standing waves and whirlpools in a rapidly running river. A lot of energy is being expended and at first sight it seems chaotic, but as time goes by you notice that the standing waves stay pretty much in the same place, or oscillate among a small number of modes. As a first step I’d give those of your editors who have the “Can Delete Span” capability the added ability to assign messages to (multiple) categories.
      By this point we’ve seen enough of the arguments for and against renewable deployment to develop a fairly detailed taxonomy, so that contributions like Jouni’s above can be labelled with some precision, linked to all the other similar assertions that have been made here, and more importantly linked to the corresponding node in a tree of refutations, which (because maintenance and improvement is easier than reinventing the wheel) can be detailed, accurate, and linked to reliable source materials.

      Why not just turf the dialogue format in favour of a wiki? Having a conversation leads the reader in, and wiki articles presenting a synthesis don’t engage the reader (or sell solar ad page views) as much as conflicting theses. That said, it’s possible to automate the discussion to a greater extent, which would lead to a more detailed examination of sub-arguments.

      Note: Any reputable news site displays its articles’ posting date.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    I think that FiT for roof-top solar is very bad idea. First of all, it has led into unhealthy market price distortions in Germany — ultimately market distortions are shown as higher electricity retail prices.

    Second even more bad thing is in fundamentals. Roof-top solar does not want to go back to the grid, but roof-top solar does want to be consumed on site. Therefore roof-top solar incentives should encourage companies to substitute the demand for grid electricity as much as possible and households to store solar energy into batteries and electric vehicles.

    Direct subvention on investment costs is superior way to support solar power. Also state owned bank can offer zero interest loans for solar installations. Grid electricity tax is also good, but it must not hurt cheap electricity depended industry.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Rooftop solar has not caused electricity prices to rise in Germany. Both wholesale and industrial electricity rates have fallen in Germany. Germany is saving billions of dollars in coal costs thanks to solar.

      Germany’s FiT program created an environment in which solar installations happened at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world, and Germany doesn’t even have great solar resources. FiTs have been a great success.

      • Shiggity

        Why doesn’t anyone understand the market dynamics of electricity? The only ‘unhealthy market distortions’ are the incumbent utilities getting pounded, then crying about it and spreading propaganda.

      • armatus

        Well of course this has raised our electricity costs, dont kid yourself. since owners get a higher then market price for every kwh they generate and we pay this via some reallocation charge. The price on the energy exchange in Leipzig is way down, thats the true part. if you are a big corporation and buy your electricity from there, you pay prices equal to 2005 levels. now the average consumer doesnt do that. he has to pay the utilities price + the reallocation, from which heavy ( and thx to the current government) not so heavy usage industries are exempt. so big corp. dont have to pay 6 cents/kWh reallocation + they profit from very low exchange prices in leipzig. the normal guys prices have risen alot the last few years. and because of the governments economy friendly/ privat households hostile policy this reallocation per kWh has risen 400% in the last 4 years. four years ago you had to pay 1,5cent reallocation per kWh, now its 6. that goes deep into the pocket of ordinary citizens.

        We are getting alot of renewable energy now, but the consumer sees only the disadvantage right now. The Merkel government has mismanaged this thing from a to z, and yet people will probably still reelect her next week…

        • Matt

          Has the Germany plan been “fair” to everyone? That is a deep question, but of course we say “life ain’t fair sweetie”. Have corps got a massive share of the saying on electric power. IMHO yes, but that are also a lot of individual who have benefited by owning they power generation. And all of benefited from clearer air. I think we can agree that if all the wind/PV was produced by brown or black cold there would be more pollution. Was there an approach that would have worked better that FIT when it was started, we will never know since no one tried. Did it have the intended effect? Yes, it drove down prices of PV/wind and drove up installations. Unintended effects, policies always do. In a world based on the gold rule, the man with the most gold makes the rules. THe Germany FIT did pretty good.

        • Bob_Wallace

          The graph below shows what has been happening to electricity prices in Germany. 2005 was a lot of years ago.

          Germany was paying very large taxes on electricity long before renewables came along and the decision to close nuclear made. I’ve not been able to find where that tax has been going, perhaps into the general fund.

          Clearly the wholesale price of electricity is falling. Those better prices are being passed on to industrial customers but not to residential customers. Industrial customers are enjoying the dropping cost of electricity while paying nothing for the renewables that are causing the drop.

          Where the savings are going that should be given to residential customers are going is where attention should be focused and not on the small rise in renewable subsidy charges.

          Residential customers are paying for renewables which are dropping electricity costs, but someone else is pocketing those savings. The utility companies?

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