Germany’s Solar Electricity Production Breaks Record

It’s a positive sign of things to come – solar power supplied Germany with almost half its peak electricity needs on May 26.

At noon on Friday (local time), Germany’s solar installations generated more than 20,000 MW capacity according to the International Economic Platform for Renewable Energies (IWR) in Münster.

Director of IWR, Norbert Allnoch, said this is the equivalent to the output of more than 20 nuclear power plants and the clean electricity was delivered at a time of peak demand. According to Allnoch, expensive polluting peak load power plants are increasingly rare or no longer used in Germany, thanks in part to solar energy.

While Germany’s shift away from nuclear hasn’t been without its problems, challenges are to be expected in any pioneering effort.

Last week, the German federal and state governments agreed to commence intensive consultation and coordination procedures as Germany moves away from conventional energy sources toward renewables. German Chancellor Angela Merkel  says in moving forward, “Energy supplies must be safe, environmentally sound and affordable for the people in Germany”.

An interesting point to emerge from news of Germany’s record-breaking solar electricity production event relates to Australia. A report on RenewEconomy states while Germany may be the word leader in installed capacity overall, Australia installed more small-scale solar power systems than Germany during 2011 – 795MW of rooftop solar panel systems of 10kW capacity or smaller compared to Germany’s 759MW.

According to Sunwiz Consulting, Australia’s solar market grew 61MW in the month of April, with Queensland accounting for 40 per cent of installations. The 61MW reflects the amount of PV registered rather than installed, but it is still a fair reflection of the market says SunWiz Consulting’s Warwick Johnston.

Mr Johnston stated a jump in registration of renewable energy certificates in recent weeks is good indication installations of solar panels will continue to sustain increased activity leading up to the 33% reduction in the Solar Credits incentive on July 1.