Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Clean Power

Germany’s Solar Development Continues

Originally published in the ECOreport (with edits).

Berlin, Germany, photovoltaic system in Kreuzberg, Oranienstraße 3-5, Block 103 - Georg Slickers, cc-by-sa-2.0. en wikipedia

Berlin, Germany, photovoltaic system in Kreuzberg, Oranienstraße 3-5, Block 103 – Georg Slickers, cc-by-sa-2.0. en wikipedia

Critics have been pecking away at Germany’s solar program for years.

George Monbiot, a columists for the Guardian, wrote, “The real net cost of the solar PV installed in Germany between 2000 and 2008 was €35bn, at the end of which solar PV was producing 0.6% of the nation’s electricity.”

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany 2005 – present – cc by 2.0, en wikipedia

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany 2005 – present – cc by 2.0, en wikipedia

Robert Wilson, of the Clean Energy Collective, pointed out that one afternoon in 2012 solar panels provided half of the nation’s energy, but that doesn’t represent the norm:

“Yes, Germany got 50% of its electricity from solar one afternoon. Throughout the year it only produced 5%. The 5% is what really matters. The 50% gets all the headlines.”

The renewable sector provided 23.4% of Germany’s electricity in 2013 but, as expert of Germany’s renewable energy transition Craig Morris notes, “that share fluctuates between 10 percent and 50 percent.”

Note the increase of that percentage through the years, from 0.6% in 2008 to 23.4% last year.

Critics claim that this renewable energy growth has not brought about lower CO2 emissions because Germany has been phasing out its nuclear reactors at the same time. This called for a greater reliance on coal, the dirtiest of all fuels, which provided 45.5% of the nation’s energy in 2013. However, consider how much more coal and natural gas would have been used if Germany had phased out nuclear energy without the huge increase in solar and wind power!

Development of solar energy is also said to come at a cost to consumers, who funded much of it through surcharges. Germany has some of the highest energy prices in the world and now plans to impose a green energy levy on retail consumers of green energy.

Many nations provide their residential consumers electricity at a lower cost, but the reverse is true in Germany. Industry is charged less, to ensure it is competitive with other nations. Germany embarked upon its green revolution (Energiewende) in 2000 and still has the strongest economy in Europe.

Solar and wind have driven down wholesale electricity prices, which has benefited industry customers exempt from renewable energy surcharges, but the surcharges and a lack of retail price decreases has resulted in consumers paying more for the renewable energy transition. In other words, industry has seen a cut in its electricity costs while consumers have seen an increase.

Some argue that too much is being paid to farm operators and homeowners who feed solar energy to the grid, but the feed-in tariff for solar producers is now hardly any different from the price of electricity from the grid. 26% of the population wants to have PV panels on their roofs, or a small cogeneration unit in their homes, before the decade is over. That’s not terribly surprising when, as Morris notes, “with electricity from new PV systems already only costing 9-13 cents per kilowatt-hour and retail rates approaching 30 cents, it is unlikely that the market will stop when feed-in tariffs for PV are discontinued.”

According to a recent analysis by Eclareon, Germany’s commercial PV solar has reached “full grid parity” and, in January, was less expensive than electricity from the utility.

Altbach, Kraftwerk, von Zell aus gesehen - Xocolatl, released into public domain

Altbach, Kraftwerk, von Zell aus gesehen – Xocolatl, released into public domain

The solar sector has reported negative balances in 2010, 2012 and 2013. Dr. Matthias Lang writes one of the principle causes is “high payments for solar input.” He added that, after the surcharge was increased from 5.277 to 6.24 ct/kWh, there were substantial increases for the first four months of 2014. This produced a €1.6 billion surplus.

But a net balance that doesn’t look at the broader picture misses some key points. If that electricity wasn’t coming from solar power, how much of it would be sent to other nations for expensive (in Europe) natural gas? How much money does the country keep within its borders from the transition away from fossil fuels towards solar and wind? How many jobs does it create?

Solar Radiation Map: SolarGIS © 2011 GeoModel Solar s.r.o.

Solar Radiation Map: SolarGIS © 2011 GeoModel Solar s.r.o.

As Bloomberg just pointed out: “Expansion in the region’s biggest economy (Germany) accelerated to 0.8 percent from 0.4 percent in the previous quarter, the Federal Statistics Office said today. Economists forecast 0.7 percent, according to the median of 40 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. France, the second-largest economy, unexpectedly stagnated in the period, while Italy shrank 0.1 percent. Germany is key to the 18-nation currency bloc’s drive to sustain a recovery from its longest-ever recession at a time when weak price growth is pushing the European Central Bank toward adding more stimulus.”

Germany’s solar development continues. By 2050, Germany hopes to derive 100% of its energy from renewable sources.( solar, wind, biogas & hydropower).


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Clean Power

The global LNG market is holding up for now, but Uniper's plans for a green ammonia and green hydrogen hub in Germany could shake...

Climate Change

The threat of a catastrophic failure unleashing a 20-foot wall of industrial wastewater over nearby homes and businesses in Piney Point, Florida, illustrates the danger...

Cars

Germany, Europe’s largest auto market, saw plugin electric vehicles reach 22.5% share in March 2021, a growth of over 2.4× from March 2020 (9.2%...

Market Research

NREL Analysts Advance Understanding of Options, Opportunities To Repair, Reuse, or Recycle Solar Photovoltaic System Materials

Copyright © 2021 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.