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Power Earth

Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly 461

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the now-imagine-if-solar-and-nuclear-worked-together dept.
assertation (1255714) writes with this interesting tidbit from Reuters about the state of solar power in Germany: German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour — equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity — through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said. The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022.
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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

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  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @10:35AM (#47315385)

    I've seen headlines elsewhere that just say "Germany Now Gets Half Its Power from Solar". "Now" is misleading in that context.

    This is a noteworthy milestone, and a good sign, but let's not exaggerate it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @10:46AM (#47315549)

    Great editing job /.! The article is more than 2 years old...

  • by Mr D from 63 (3395377) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @10:50AM (#47315607)

    produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour — equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity

    And for the entire week, those same solar cells produced the equivalent of about 3 or 4 nuclear stations. For a week in mid-winter, it is more like the equivalent of 2 nuclear stations. Luckily, they have their new coal plants that are cranked up when the solar is not producing for a large portion of the day.

    As of 2011, Germany had already spent over 100 billion Euros subsidizing solar. This level of subsidization could easily produce over 20 nuclear plants and would basically end the further need for carbon free electrical energy spending, while offsetting much more carbon in a shorter period of time. Not to mention the vast economic benefits to the country from supplying a majority of the plant components versus buying from Asia. But, Germany will continue to spend even more, sending vast sums of money to Asia in efforts to just 'keep up', while their electricity prices continue to skyrocket, resulting in higher costs for business and manufacturing.

    Apart from the low lattitude band of land where the solar conditions are optimal, a combination of wind, gas, and nuclear is the most effective and practical approach to significantly reduce carbon emmissions. If you are one who is against nuclear no matter what, then wind and gas are the next best option. In all cases, energy efficiency improvement investment is signfiicantly undervalued in terms of carbon reduction return. Alas, many will still prefer the green badge of solar honor over the practical solutions.

    This article spells it out as well, albiet with over-use of negative adjectives. The facts are correct;

    In 2012 Germany had one third of the world's solar panels, and at one point these panels generated over half of Germany's electricity demand. This is how things are normally put. But it as rather like talking about a third rate golfer and only referring to the time he almost won the US Masters. 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.

    And solar is an awful source of energy in a country as cloudy and as far north as Germany. Electricity has to be available when we want it. Germans, like many Europeans, most want the stuff around 6 pm on a cold Winter evening. This is an incredibly reliable peak in demand. Yet, the electricity supplied by Germany's solar panels at 6 pm on a cold December is also incredibly reliable: zero

    http://theenergycollective.com... [theenergycollective.com]

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @10:59AM (#47315735)

    In the US, on average, 61,6 acres.

  • by raburton (1281780) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @11:10AM (#47315867)

    yes - http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.co... [nytimes.com]
    (via wikipedia)

  • by ab8ten (551673) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @11:19AM (#47315977)
    ...and Slashdot covered it at the time: http://hardware.slashdot.org/s... [slashdot.org]
    I think the submitter meant to post this story, which is about the new record of 24.2GW: http://www.iflscience.com/tech... [iflscience.com]
  • by Layzej (1976930) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @11:37AM (#47316137)

    In Germany citizens and co-ops own about half of the solar capacity. So it is the average tax payer who both pays for and benefits from the subsides. It represents a real democratization of the energy market. "Not only has energy production in Germany been pried from the hands of the “Big Four,” namely the four utility giants that had dominated the German energy market, but it is now also radically decentralized." - http://climatecrocks.com/2014/... [climatecrocks.com]

    It is amazing what they have achieved. Especially in the face of doubters who predicted rolling brown outs that never materialized. The next revolution needs to come in storage. I'm optimistic.

  • by Bertie (87778) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @12:16PM (#47316503)

    They do both.

    I live in Berlin. It can be damn cold there in the winter. My apartment building is around a hundred years old, but it's been fairly recently refurbished, so it's well insulated. As a result, my heating bills are around €100 a year. The only radiator I really use is in my bedroom, and it only gets turned on halfway at most.

  • by Noah Haders (3621429) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @12:19PM (#47316527)

    What does 22GW look like? If all of the collectors and ancillary equipment were in the same place, how many acres would the facility be?

    An actual answer:

    if you converted all of Central Park in Manhattan to solar it would generate about a GW at Peak. So Germany's 22GW record is roughly equivalent to 22 central parks. Or, approxmiately the size of Manhattan. Or, about 29 sq mi, and you can search google for "what is the size of X" to find your favorite metric.

    source, an earlier poster [slashdot.org] linked to this NREL paper [nrel.gov] saying that an average solar footprint was 8/MW peak.

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