Germany Cranks 4 Billion Kilowatt Hours Of Solar Electricity

May was a record month for solar energy production in Germany, with 4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity generated by the country’s solar panels.

According to Germany’s Federal Association of Energy and Water (BDEW), May’s production represented approximately ten percent of the monthly electricity consumption in Germany and an increase of about 40 percent compared to last year.

Last month’s solar electricity generation smashed the previous record –  2.6 billion kWh in May 2011 – by a wide margin.

For this year to the end of May, a total of 10.5 billion kWh of solar electricity has been produced, compared to 7.6 billion kWh during the same period last year.

Added to May’s solar output was a 2.9 billion kWh contribution by Germany’s wind turbines. Between January and May, wind energy in the nation contributed 22.0 billion kWh of electricity – twice the amount of solar power. For the same period in 2011, wind power generated 18.4 billion kWh.

May saw another record for solar in Germany tumble. At noon on May 26, the country’s solar installations achieved more than 20,000 MW output capacity and almost half Germany’s peak electricity needs. The following day, solar output contributed a third of the nation’s peak electricity needs on Friday and half on Saturday

By the end of 2011, Germany had attained a solar PV capacity of almost 25 gigawatts (GW). Last year, solar PV provided 18 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, approximately 3% of the nation’s electricity needs. This represented growth of over 50% over 2010, when solar panels contributed 2% of Germany’s electricity requirements.

While large scale solar farms are common in Germany, so too are grid-connected rooftop home solar panel systems. Key to uptake of solar in Germany has been a generous solar feed in tariff incentive.

The largest solar farm in Germany currently is the Brandenburg-Briest Solarpark, which has a capacity of 91MW.

Recently, Solar Frontier and Germany’s BELECTRIC announced the completion and grid connection of the world’s largest CIS thin-film solar panel based facility, also in Brandenburg.