Germany sets weekend record for solar power

solar farm
Image: Array Technologies
(Phys.org) -- Solar power plants in Germany have set a new record. “Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity," said Norbert Allnoch, Germany’s director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry in Muenster. The plants peaked at 22 gigawatts of output for a few hours over the weekend, on Friday and Saturday. The numbers are important in that they yielded almost half the country's energy mid-day electricity needs. The 22 gigawatts is up from 14 GW a year ago. Also, this 22 gigawatts of output is equal to about 20 nuclear plants.

That comparison is significant because, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, abandoned nuclear energy endeavors. They shut down eight plants in favor of safer options and instead shouldered the task of further developing renewable energy sources. Allnoch said the data is based on information from the European Energy Exchange (EEX), based in Leipzig.

Germany aggressively supports alternative energy sources and, by the year 2022, Germany expects to shutter its remaining nine nuclear plants. The lack of these nuclear power facilities will create a gap in the country’s energy infrastructure, however. Germany is looking toward sources such as solar, wind and biomass.

That support and commitment have come at a price. A 2012 Environment Ministry report showed that German taxpayers pay an extra four billion euros per year on top of their electricity bills to support solar power.

Allnoch and his supporters would prefer to look at the “price” context in another way. “Even with all the safety precautions”, he said, there is still a risk at nuclear plants. “A global phaseout would be ideal but is not likely to happen soon.”

As for costs, he said that while everyone worries about costs, the markets are shifting. He said once the uncertainty calms down, “we will see that we can do without nuclear power.”

In relegating nuclear energy to the past, the road to replace it may be rocky, he added, but it is do-able. “We need to rise to this challenge.”

The new record-breaking figures from Germany, however, do not quiet some experts who stress that without good storage strategies for excess power, such record-breaking numbers are not meaningful. They say the real point is to get consistently large percentages of power from renewable sources.


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May 30, 2012
Such numbers without context indeed do not mean much. Average year round capacity factor of german solar is a little over 0,1. At the summer noon there are power surges like this, but at other times (fall and winter, evening and night) they produce almost nothing from the country energy needs.
Intermittency is the Achilles' heel of renewables.

May 30, 2012
@ShotmanMaslo "Intermittency is the Achilles' heel of renewables"
That is why electricity storage techniques deserve the the highest priority in research in my opinion.

May 30, 2012
Chicken and the egg.
With so much solar energy installed the research and cost of energy storage becomes a lot more economical.

May 30, 2012
"The sun, an average star, is a fusion reactor that has been burning over 4 billion years. It provides enough energy in one minute to supply the world's energy needs for one year. In one day, it provides more energy than our current population would consume in 27 years. In fact, "The amount of solar radiation striking the earth over a three-day period is equivalent to the energy stored in all fossil energy sources."
The sun's been doing its job for eons. It's up to us to find the will to collect its energy, store it, and distribute it to any place on cloudy days (what a shitty reason to doubt a solar solution).

May 30, 2012
No fair. Where I'm at (Bavaria) there was rain and overcast skies (OK, and some sun).

who stress that without good storage strategies for excess power, such record-breaking numbers are not meaningful. They say the real point is to get consistently large percentages of power from renewable sources.

True to a point. The larger your grid the less need for a lot of local storage (as a percentage of power needed) - and we are part of a european grid. There is no such thing as 'overcast skies all over Europe' - and with the DESERTEC initiative that will become even less of an issue. But SOME storage solution should definitely be the next goal.

May 30, 2012
When LENR based generation will come to marketplace, storage is no-issue and more expensive tech than fossils will halt it`s progress. It will be like LCDs replacing CRTs.

May 30, 2012
Way to go Germany !

Plenty of nay sayers abound, ignore them and proceed onward.

May 30, 2012
Way to go Germany !

Plenty of nay sayers abound, ignore them and proceed onward.


Follow in the glorious footsteps of Spain. Grossly overestimated green energy nonsense which has hit the reality of cost. No one wants green power that costs 200-300% the cost of conventional & reliable nuclear power.

The only solar which makes sense is Space solar since you don't need to worry about land acquisition and the sun is shining 24/7 @ geostationary orbit . Also you get much more W/m^2 since there is no scattering effect, clouds or other atmospheric phenomenon. All in all about 300-400% more power can be extracted in the same area.

Now that the private sector like SpaceX is getting into the act , it isn't too long before the economics will start to work out.

May 30, 2012
No one wants green power that costs 200-300% the cost of conventional & reliable nuclear power.

Unless you count all the costs that are associated with nuclear (besides the risk that one might go on the fritz and cost the country its existence). If you count everything nuclear is about 2 dollars a kWh. Not much of a bargain.
The only solar which makes sense is Space solar

Space solar makes no sense on any level. You need a LOT more energy to get that stuff up there than you'll ever beam back down (and you'll overkill the ozone layer about 100 times with the number of launches needed to get even 1% of your energy from space based solar). One good solar storm and all your space based solar is history.

Solar constant on the ground is not much less than in space - and on the ground the same powerplant is 100 times cheaper.


May 30, 2012
Coal is Germany's Future.

"RWE, the German utility, will soon begin operating the worlds largest lignite-burning power plant, a new 2,100-megawatt facility located south of Dusseldorf. Over the next two years or so, Germany will add 8,400 megawatts of new coal-fired generation capacity. And another 5,500 megawatts of coal-fired capacity is awaiting approval.

In fact, thanks to the slumping European economy, electricity producers in the region are already ramping up their use of coal. On May 8, Reuters reported that German utilities are likely to produce about 12 percent more electricity from coal this year than they did in 2011 thanks to abundance of cheap permits issued under the EUs Emissions Trading Scheme."

http://www.slate....on_.html

May 30, 2012
Theres no question that the coal sector imposes serious negative impacts on society. The extraction and burning of coalstrip mines, mountaintop removal, air pollution, mercury emissions, and ash ponds at power plantstake an enormous toll. Thousands of miners die each year in the worlds coal mines. Just last month, nine Chinese miners were killed and 16 were injured in an explosion at a colliery in northern China.

May 30, 2012
"The only solar which makes sense is Space solar since you don't need to worry about land acquisition and the sun is shining 24/7 @ geostationary orbit"

Space solar wont make sense, unless the launch costs really come down (at least several times decrease is required).
Solar PV wont make much of a sense, unless large scale energy storage costs really come down:
http://physics.uc...battery/

The only renewable technologies which make sense in the large scale (since they do not require any large external costs like massive storage and smart grids, in addition to simply building the plants themselves) are thermal concentrated solar power with molten salt heat storage, and hydro (includes micro-hydro). Also geothermal, but thats pretty limited in availability and uneconomical. These provide power on demand, independent of weather.

Counting on some uncertain future storage breaktrough to make solar PV and wind viable is not a good way to go.

May 30, 2012
Also check this electricity usage from Germany : http://www.youtub...=related

Very useful.


May 30, 2012
The plants peaked at 22 gigawatts of output for a few hours over the weekend, on Friday and Saturday.
Most of this abundand electricity must be dissolved over grid into neigbouring countries, the Czech Republic and Poland in particular. Which is why these countries are forced to build expensive transformers at the German boundaries, which would protect their national grids against flooding with abundant solar electricity from Germany. This is hidden cost of solar energy too.

http://www.busine...iner-use

This PO article is relevant to this subject too http://phys.org/n...firstCmt

The price of solar energy cannot be compared with price of fossil fuels, until it will not behave as reliably, as the fossil fuel energy. It would require the building of grid of expensive accumulators.

May 30, 2012
"The electric power sector is the largest source of toxic pollutants in the United States, due to coal ash and coal waste, which contain toxins such as heavy metals.[4] Each year, the waste left over from burning coal generates 125 to 130 million tons of coal ash and coal sludge -- 40% of that waste finds it way into new products and 60% is stored in ponds or pits, which can present health and environmental risks if released into ground water."
One ought to figure these facts into the comparative "cost" of energy production.

May 30, 2012
One ought to figure these facts into the comparative "cost" of energy production
Indeed, but the solar plants have hidden price included too. For example, this is how the number of sunny day changes with period of year http://www.olympi...raph.jpg or within longer period http://climatecha...blin.jpg You should compensate the fluctuations of solar power and balance the grid. Solar panels degrade for several reasons, like the chemical deterioration of the films, moss and algae growth on-top as well as between the glass substrate and the semiconductors, corrosion of the electrical contacts in the frame. Especially the electrical contact corrosion problem is very severe in recent times. Many solar panels are simple getting broken with wind, birds and vandals. In the Central Europe areas the efficiency of solar cells degrade by 25% every five years.

May 30, 2012
Idiocy is ParkerTard's past, present, and future.

"Coal is Germany's Future." - ParkerTard


Not just Germany.

"Europe's economic slump is allowing utilities in some countries to burn increasing amounts of cheap, highly polluting coal for electricity generation and still meet legally binding targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions, Reuters research shows."

http://www.reuter...20120508

May 31, 2012
Coal is Germany's Future.

"RWE, the German utility, will soon begin operating the worlds largest lignite-burning power plant, a new 2,100-megawatt facility located south of Dusseldorf. Over the next two years or so, Germany will add 8,400 megawatts of new coal-fired generation capacity. And another 5,500 megawatts of coal-fired capacity is awaiting approval.


Isn't it wonderful the way Germany is "fighting" global warming ? They first add gigawatts of Solar power panels and offshore wind mills. Then they find out that the "green" power is completely unreliable since you never know when the sun will be shining and which way the wind blows. Solar is impractical for Germany except in the summer , and even then they get way less sunshine than the tropical countries. As for wind , it is more money in the bank for the green cronies.

So how do they fight global warming finally ? By closing down all nuclear plants and build gigawatts of "dirty" coal power.

May 31, 2012
There is no such thing as 'overcast skies all over Europe' - and with the DESERTEC initiative that will become even less of an issue. But SOME storage solution should definitely be the next goal.


There is something called night that lands over all of Europe at the same time, and when you're within 3 hours of each other, the solar power production peak is stretched from 1 hour to 3 hours at best.

The DESERTEC project represents new European imperialism and exploitation over North African and middle east nations. You'd basically have to force them into selling electricity to Europe instead of using it themselves, because being closer to the equator they have less variation in production than Europeans do, so they don't really need the EU grid for any load levelling.

It's a politically unstable proposition that depends on the African nations not developing themselves to the point that they can simply flip the bird to Europe.

May 31, 2012
Not to mention that it negates the main advertised selling point of renewables - localised energy independence. Europe being dependant on large power stations is north africa is only marginally better than energy dependence on middle-eastern oil, and worse than being dependant on russian gas.

Jun 01, 2012
Europe being dependant on large power stations is north africa is only marginally better than energy dependence on middle-eastern oil, and worse than being dependant on russian gas.

How so? Gas is finite. Oil is finite. Solar is not. When gas and oil become scarc do you think the ME or Russia will continue to sell? Solar doesn't become scarce.
[q9They first add gigawatts of Solar power panels and offshore wind mills. Then they find out that the "green" power is completely unreliable since you never know when the sun will be shining and which way the wind blows
I think you're missing the point. Coal powerplants can be turned off/on within reasonably short times (within the times that waether forecasts are reliable). Nuclear power plants can't.

And by the time solar and wind will be sufficient coal will, too, be turned off.

Jun 01, 2012
"How so? Gas is finite. Oil is finite. Solar is not. When gas and oil become scarc do you think the ME or Russia will continue to sell? Solar doesn't become scarce."

I am not talking about fuel scarcity, but european energy independence. being dependant on power plants on foreign soil is no better than being dependant on foreign fuel. Even worse, since you can find alternative sellers for fuel, but you cannot physically move the plants from north africa.

Jun 01, 2012
Europe being dependant on large power stations is north africa is only marginally better than energy dependence on middle-eastern oil, and worse than being dependant on russian gas.

How so? Gas is finite. Oil is finite. Solar is not.


250 years of gas.

1000 years of methane hydrates.

Stupid people could squander trillions on solar and wind.

Smart people will wait 100 years for it to be cheaper than gas. It won't be, but until then, the jobs will be welcome.

Those countries that paid out the most to subsidize wind and solar are in huge trouble economically.

Jun 01, 2012
250 years of gas.

1000 years of methane hydrates.

250 more years of global warming? 1000? That sound like a 'sensible' idea to you?

I think we have a different idea of what 'senible' means.


Stupid people could squander trillions on solar and wind.

They coudl - but snice no one is doing that and things are getting done you're just constructing strawmen here.

Smart people will wait 100 years for it to be cheaper than gas.

If you include all ancillary costs (e.g. those accrued due to damages from rising sea levels, draughts, etc.) and the tax breaks to oil companies (which are nothing but subsidies themslves) then it's already cheaper - WAY cheaper.

It's easy to appear cheap if you don't have to pay for the cleanup.

Those countries that paid out the most to subsidize wind and solar are in huge trouble economically.

Funny, how we're not.

Jun 01, 2012
If you include all ancillary costs (e.g. those accrued due to damages from rising sea levels, draughts, etc.) and the tax breaks to oil companies (which are nothing but subsidies themslves) then it's already cheaper - WAY cheaper.


Quit being silly. All companies get some tax breaks and get to write off legitimate expenses.

And adding in imaginary costs and ignoring the real suffering people are experiencing when they cannot afford to keep warm is evil.

Jun 01, 2012
and ignoring the real suffering people are experiencing when they cannot afford to keep warm is evil.

As opposing to ignoring those people whose nations are ALREADY being inundated you mean? Or those who are experiencing draught after draught to die of stravation.

I think we can afford to have wealthy nations switch from oil to electric heaters without that being particularly 'evil'.

And adding in imaginary costs

Those costs are being paid. By your (and my) taxes. They are far from imaginary. The point is: you complain about subsidies. then complain about ALL subsidies on an equal basis. THEN start to complain about those that have gotten MOST subsidies to date for less return. ONLY THEN, when you have compose about 100 posts criticizing coal, oil and nuclear for squandering money may you compose on about alternative enrgies - without sounding like a massive hypocrite.

Jun 01, 2012
1) Which countries are being affected?

2) The USA uses no oil for electricity. Almost half from coal.

3) All businesses get tax write-offs. Feed in tariffs for wind and solar are unique.

Jun 02, 2012
No one wants green power that costs 200-300% the cost of conventional & reliable nuclear power.


You're clearly not counting the costs of conventional power properly.

Have you ever sat and done the math of the maximum energy value of Coal in a 40% efficient coal power plant, and then figure what it makes in a year?

Now take the most advanced 10MW wind turbine, pay it's build and install costs, and then watch what it makes in energy value in one year...

The Wind Turbine will never cost you anything further except low heat, low pollutant maintenance.

The coal plant costs you maintenance in a high temperature and high contaminant environment that corrodes and wears things out.

The Wind Turbine will pay for itself in the price of coal saved, anywhere from 10 to 30 times in it's lifetime.

Anyone claiming wind or solar costs 2 or 3 times more than Coal for LIFETIME of the install is a LIAR, because it's actually EASILY the other way around.

Jun 02, 2012
[
Anyone claiming wind or solar costs 2 or 3 times more than Coal for LIFETIME of the install is a LIAR, because it's actually EASILY the other way around.


And this is with tech that is not as mature as coal, what will happen when solar thin films break 25% and or you can paint on a coat of solar paint with 10% pv efficacy? Will the gas-heads still have their heads up their butts?

Also unrelated but I figure it could use more publicity: burning ethanol may produce less co2 but it makes something much more toxic to humans. Look it up! It's called acetaldehyde and it's one of the worst compounds for the environment and human health. Yet nobody seems to know or care....

Jun 03, 2012
Space solar is great for production; what's less great is its transport to consumers (on Earth)... Huge uwave toasters in the sky?

Way to go Germany !

Plenty of nay sayers abound, ignore them and proceed onward.


Follow in the glorious footsteps of Spain. Grossly overestimated green energy nonsense which has hit the reality of cost. No one wants green power that costs 200-300% the cost of conventional & reliable nuclear power.

The only solar which makes sense is Space solar since you don't need to worry about land acquisition and the sun is shining 24/7 @ geostationary orbit . Also you get much more W/m^2 since there is no scattering effect, clouds or other atmospheric phenomenon. All in all about 300-400% more power can be extracted in the same area.

Now that the private sector like SpaceX is getting into the act , it isn't too long before the economics will start to work out.

Jun 03, 2012
Lurker - that would be the case with isolated wind turbine. But ignores lots of important factors in the real grid. Coal is a flexible source that can produce power on demand, either base load or peaking. Wind and solar (except CSP) is not, its imtermittent.

This ability to produce power on demand, independent of weather is what makes coal and CSP far more valuable than wind and PV solar. Even though if you look at it through simple EROEI or cost per aggregate GWh produced, you may very well come to the conclusion that wind is cheaper.

If you include costs of massive storage and smart grids, needed to make solar PV and wind on par in this with coal, nuclear and solar CSP, the cost would be far higher.

Jun 03, 2012
4 billion extra on the bill for Germany seems a lot . But when you divide it by kw.h it is about 0.66 euro cent , when we assume a yearly consumption of 600,000,000,000 kw.h . In 2008 it was according to the CIA 544,500,000,000 kw.h . And don't forget the enormous export of money to buy fossil fuels abroad , that is an enormous money drain . An european PV industry (desertec) in north africa is of course another disaster and will again chain the western world in dependency of dictator states . There is enough sun in Europe , no need at all to harvest it in sharia states !! There are also many groups working on the storage problems . I have read a lot about that on phys.org in past years . So Germany keep on building till 100 gigawatts so you can drive electric cars too , and KSA can drink its own petrol . I can't wait till they demolish that fossil fuel industry.

Jun 03, 2012
This is an AWESOME demonstration of the beauty of solar photovoltaics. A pure clean and endless source of energy for an advanced nation. Of course the Europeans have a clear national focus on how to deal with global warming; reduce and eliminate fossil fuel use. It also helps there national security by the reduction of their dependence on fossil fuel.

If only our US congress (and specifically GOP/republican dim bulbs) would get out of their "Just say No" funk and do a stimulus project like the Germans. It would be nice to see. Alas, we have AGW deniers.

AGW deniers, of course, their grand plan is simple; Flee.


Jun 03, 2012
Do home owners get tax breaks to write off the legitimate reduction in their home's value, or the value of their car?


" If you sell an investment property for a loss, your loss may be deductible against your income. Investment properties are treated very similar to equity investments in this regard."

"All companies get some tax breaks and get to write off legitimate expenses."


" the credit "is available generally to all U.S. taxpayers, both corporate and individual" "

http://taxfoundat...they-are

Jun 05, 2012
mitchg wrote -
Space solar is great for production; what's less great is its transport to consumers (on Earth)... Huge uwave toasters in the sky?


There are lots of ways to transfer the energy down - using lasers to transfer the energy is becoming a viable option.
And it is very safe to use uWave's if they are sent down only if a guiding laser is received to make sure the beam is aligned perfectly , lose alignment and the uWave's can be harmlessly beamed to space. The great thing is no need for batteries since you are constantly getting free power from the sun.

Jun 05, 2012
"If you sell an investment property for a loss, your loss may be deductible against your income." - ParkerTard

As an apologist for Corporate rule... ParkerTard would rather not have American Wage Slaves become aware of these facts.


Card carrying communist Vendicar_Decarian has just come out with more his economic theories of how corporation are making American's wage slaves.

How come the American's keep getting fatter and fatter if they are "wage slaves" ? The fact is American's haven't seen real slavery for generations . Most are so fat just consuming things they haven't paid for.
Why have all the socialist and communist utopia's faded away while the "Wage slave" American capitalist system isn't going anywhere?

Jun 05, 2012
Businesses don't need to sell their property at a loss in order to claim a depreciation cost on their tax form.


Because machinery wears out and the tax man doesn't like it if you deduct the full cost in one year. Depreciation means you deduct the cost of the asset as it wears out over time.

Small business owners can do the same thing.


Jun 06, 2012
Oh you dirty hippies and your free this and free that.

"The great thing is no need for batteries since you are constantly getting free power from the sun." - Punk

Nothing is free in Capitalist America.


Neither are windmills , offshore or onshore.
Or any of the other methods you promote to "fight" global warming.

And nothing is more capitalist than the wind turbine makers who are laughing all the way to the bank.

Jun 07, 2012
Solar Cells 23,000 Times Worse for Environment Than Carbon Dioxide. It's all based on the usage of Hexafluoroethane during their production, but the impact of solar cells may be wider in another areas.

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