By Roy L Hales
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.”
Robert Wilson, of the Clean Energy Collective, pointed out that one afternoon in 2012 solar panels provided half of the nation’s energy:
“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.”
Note the increase of that percentage through the years, from 0.6% in 2008 to 23.4% last year.
This green experiment has not brought about lower CO2 emissions. Many believe it might have, if Germany were not 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.
Development of solar energy has 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.
Some argue that too much is being paid to farm operators and homeowners who feed solar energy to the grid. A quarter of the population want to have PV panels on their roofs, or a small cogeneration unit in their homes, before the decade is over.
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.
According to a recent analysis by Eclareon, Germany’s commercial PV solar has reached “full grid parity” in Munich and, in January, was less expensive than electricity from the utility.
Most 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.
As Bloomberg just pointed out,
“Expansion in the region’s biggest economy (Germany) accelerated to 0.8 percent from 0.4 percent in the 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 Revolution moves onward. By 2050, Germany hopes to derive 100% of its energy from renewable sources. ( solar, wind, biogas & hydropower).
(Image at top of page: Berlin, Germany, photovoltaic system in Kreuzberg, Oranienstraße 3-5, Block 103 – Georg Slickers, cc-by-sa-2.0. en wikipedia)