Solar power in Germany

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Inside the Erlasee Solar Park near Arnstein, Bavaria.
Map of average solar radiation in Germany. For most of the country annual average values are in between 1100 and 1300 kWh per square metre.
Solar potential

Solar power in Germany consists mostly of photovoltaics (PV) and — to a lesser extent — of solar heating. The country has been the world's top PV installer for several years and still leads in terms of the overall installed capacity, that amounts to 36,708 megawatts (MW) by June 2014, ahead of China, Italy, Japan, or the United States.[1]

About 1.4 million PV systems are installed all over the country, ranging from small roof-top systems, to medium commercial and large utility scaled solar parks, that altogether contributed 7 percent, or about 18 terawatt-hours to the overall electricity generation during the first six months of 2014. This brings the country's share of renewable energy to almost 31 percent, and in line with the official governmental goal of reaching 35 percent by the end of the decade.[2]

However new installations of PV systems have declined steadily since the record year of 2011 and continues to do so through 2014. It's estimated that about half of the country's jobs have been lost in the solar sector in recent years. While proponents from the PV industry blame the lack of governmental commitment, others point out the financial burden associated with the fast paced roll-out of photovoltaics, rendering the transition to renewable energies unsustainable in their view.[3]

Nevertheless, the official governmental goal is to generate 100 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2050.[4] The country is increasingly producing more electricity than it needs, driving down spot-market prices[5] and exporting its surplus of electricity to its neighboring countries (record exported surplus of 32 TWh in 2013). Ironically, a decline in spot-prices raises the electricity prices for retail customers, as the spread of the guaranteed feed-in tariff and spot-price increases as well.

As wind and solar power contribute 17 percent on the national electricity mix, other issues are becoming more pressing. These include, adapting the electrical grid, constructing new grid-storage capacity, dismantling and altering fossil and nuclear power plants — the cheapest source of electricity by current LCOE assessments — and to construct a new generation of combined heat and power plants.[6]

The nation's largest PV power plants include Senftenberg Solarpark, Finsterwalde Solar Park, Lieberose Photovoltaic Park, Strasskirchen Solar Park, Waldpolenz Solar Park, and Köthen Solar Park.

Overview[edit]

Price of solar PV systems

History of PV roof-top prices in euros per kilowatt (€/kW). [7]

The German solar PV industry installed 7.6 GW in 2012[8] and 7.5 GW in 2011,[9] and solar PV provided 18 TWh of electricity in 2011, about 3% of total electricity.[3] On midday of Saturday May 26, 2012, solar energy provided over 40% of total electricity consumption in Germany, and 20% for the 24h-day. The federal government has set a target of 66 GW of installed solar PV capacity by 2030,[10] to be reached with an annual increase of 2.5–3.5 GW,[11] and a goal of 80% of electricity from renewable sources by 2050.[12] From 3.5 GW to 4 GW are expected to be installed in 2013. Solar power in Germany has been growing considerably due to the country's feed-in tariffs for renewable energy which were introduced by the German Renewable Energy Act. Prices of PV systems have decreased more than 50% in 5 years since 2006.[13]

As of 2012, the FiT costs about 14 billion euros (US$18 billion) per year for wind and solar installations. The cost is spread across all rate-payers in a surcharge of 3.6 €ct (4.6 ¢) per kWh[14] (approximately 15% of the total domestic cost of electricity).[15] On the other hand, as expensive peak power plants are displaced, the price at the power exchange is reduced due to the so-called merit order effect.[16]

German electricity generation on May 25 and May 26, 2012

Germany set a world record for solar power production with 24.2 GW produced at midday on April 17, 2014.[17][18]

According to the solar power industry, a feed-in tariff is the most effective means of developing solar power.[19] It is the same as a power purchase agreement, but is at a much higher rate. As the industry matures, it is reduced and becomes the same as a power purchase agreement. A feed-in tariff allows investors a guaranteed return on investment - a requirement for development. A primary difference between a tax credit and a feed-in tariff is that the cost is borne the year of installation with a tax credit, and is spread out over many years with a feed-in tariff. In both cases the incentive cost is distributed over all consumers. This means that the initial cost is very low for a feed-in tariff and very high for a tax credit. In both cases the learning curve reduces the cost of installation, but is not a large contribution to growth, as grid parity is still always reached.[20]

Boom period[edit]

More than 7 GW of PV capacity had been installed annually during the record years of 2010, 2011 and 2012. For this period, the installed capacity of 22.5 GW represents almost 30 percent of the worldwide deployed photovoltaics. Since 2013, the amount of new installations declined significantly due to more restrictive governmental policies. Germany is projected to lose its leading position as the world's largest producer of photovoltaic electricity to China before the end of the decade.

Governmental policies[edit]

Since the end of the boom period, national PV market has since declined significantly, due to the amendments in the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG) that reduced feed-in tariffs and set constraints on utility-scaled installations, limiting their size to no more than 10 MW.[21]

The current version of the EEG only guarantees financial assistance as long as the overall PV capacity has not yet reached 52 GW. It also foresees to regulate annual PV growth within a range of 2.5 GW to 3.5 GW by adjusting the guaranteed fees accordingly. The legislative reforms stipulates a 40 to 45 percent share from renewable energy sources by 2025 and a 55 to 60 percent share by 2035.[22]

Grid capacity and stability issues[edit]

Germany had not installed adequate storage to accommodate high percentages of wind and solar power and in 2012 is exporting peak generation to neighboring countries.[23]

Approximately 9 GW of photovoltaic plants in Germany are being retrofitted to shut down[citation needed] if the frequency increases to 50.2 Hz, indicating an excess of electricity on the grid. The frequency is unlikely to reach 50.2 Hz during normal operation, but can if Germany is exporting power to countries that suddenly experience a power failure.[clarification needed] This happened in 2003 and 2006.[24][dead link][25][26] The frequency of the grid is available on the Internet.[citation needed]

However, power failures could not have been caused by photovoltaics in 2006 as solar PV played a negligible role in the German energy mix at that time.[27] In December 2012, the president of Germany's "Bundesnetzagentur", the Federal Network Agency, stated that there is "no indication", that the switch to renewables is causing more power outages.[28] Amory Lovins from the Rocky Mountain Institute wrote about the German Energiewende in 2013, calling the discussion about grid stability a "disinformation campaign".[29]

Statistics[edit]

Exponential growth of German solar PV capacity and its average electrical power on a log scale. It doubled on average every 18 months between 1990 and 2012. This corresponds to an annual growth rate of almost 59%.

The history of Germany's installed photovoltaic capacity, its average power output, produced electricity, and its share in the overall consumed electricity, shows a steady, exponential growth for more than two decades.[30] Solar PV capacity doubled on average every 18 months in this period; an annual growth rate of more than 50 percent.

LCOE comparison of renewable technologies and conventional power plants in cents/kWh.
Year Capacity (MW) Annual yield (GWh) % of consumption
1990 2 1.0 <0.001
1991 2 1.0 <0.001
1992 6 4.0 0.001
1993 9 3.0 0.001
1994 12 7.0 0.001
1995 18 7.0 0.001
1996 28 12 0.002
1997 42 18 0.003
1998 54 35 0.006
1999 70 30 0.005
2000 114 60 0.01
2001 176 76 0.01
2002 296 162 0.03
2003 435 313 0.05
2004 1,105 557 0.09
2005 2,056 1,282 0.2
2006 2,899 2,220 0.4
2007 4,170 3,075 0.5
2008 6,120 4,420 0.7
2009 10,566 6,583 1.1
2010 17,554 11,729 1.9
2011 25,039 19,599 3.2
2012 32,643 26,380 4.4
2013 35,948 31,400 5.3
Solar PV's share in the overall consumed electricity grew exponentially since 1990, doubling every 1.56 years, or growing 56% annually on average. The doubling time and growth rate differ from those of average power and installed capacity as the overall consumption also increased over time.
10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
1992
1996
2000
2004
2008
2012
Nationwide growth of PV capacity in megawatts on a linear scale since 1992.[31]

PV capacity by federal states[edit]

Watts per capita by state in 2013[32]
  10 - 50 Watts
  50 - 100 Watts
  100 - 200 Watts
  200 - 350 Watts
  350 - 500 Watts
  500 - 750 Watts
  >750 Watts

Germany is made up of sixteen, partly sovereign federal states or Länder. The southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg account for about half of the total, nationwide PV deployment and are also the wealthiest and most populous states after North Rhine-Westphalia. However, photovoltaic installations are widespread throughout the sixteen states and are not limited to the southern region of the country as demonstrated by a watts per capita distribution.

PV capacity in MW[33]
State 2010 2011 2012
Coat of arms of Baden-Württemberg (lesser).svg Baden-Württemberg 2,741 3,581 4,286
Bayern Wappen.svg Bavaria 6,323 8,067 9,124
Coat of arms of Berlin.svg Berlin 31 46 65
Brandenburg Wappen.svg Brandenburg 564 1,546 1,724
Bremen Wappen(Mittel).svg Bremen 14 25 31
Coat of arms of Hamburg.svg Hamburg 14 22 30
Coat of arms of Hesse.svg Hesse 897 1,207 1,591
Coat of arms of Lower Saxony.svg Lower Saxony 1,511 2,284 2,959
Coat of arms of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (great).svg Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 249 520 839
Coat of arms of North Rhine-Westfalia.svg North Rhine-Westphalia 1,961 2,812 3,545
Coat of arms of Rhineland-Palatinate.svg Rhineland-Palatinate 867 1,175 1,458
Wappen des Saarlands.svg Saarland 163 223 301
Coat of arms of Saxony.svg Saxony 527 888 1,094
Wappen Sachsen-Anhalt.svg Saxony-Anhalt 408 856 1,223
Coat of arms of Schleswig-Holstein.svg Schleswig-Holstein 674 953 1,225
Coat of arms of Thuringia.svg Thuringia 298 519 818

Photovoltaic power stations[edit]

Largest German photovoltaic power stations (20 MW or larger)[34]
PV Power station Nominal Power[35]
in MWp
Annual
Yield
in GWh
Capacity
factor
(%)
Notes
Solarpark Meuro[34] 166 70 MW completed 2011, 166 MW in 2012
Neuhardenberg Solar Park[34][36] 145 Completed September 2012
Templin Solar Park[34][37] 128.48 Completed September 2012
Brandenburg-Briest Solarpark 91
Solarpark Finow Tower 84.7 Completed in 2010, 2011
Eggebek Solar Park 83.6 Completed 2011
Senftenberg Solarpark[38] 82 Phase II and III completed 2011, another 70 MW phase planned
Finsterwalde Solar Park 80.7 Phase I completed 2009,
phase II and III 2010 [39][40]
Lieberose Photovoltaic Park 71.8 53[41] 11 2009 [41][42]
Solarpark Alt Daber[34] 67.8 71.4 12 Completed 2011
Strasskirchen Solar Park[34] 54 57 12
Walddrehna Solar Park 52.3 Completed June 2012
Waldpolenz Solar Park 52[43] 52 11 550,000 First Solar thin-film CdTe modules. Completed December 2008 [43][44]
Tutow Solar Park 52 Tutow I completed in 2009, II in 2010, III in 2011
Kothen Solar Park 45 2009
Jura Solar Park 43 Completed 2014[45]
Fürstenwalde Solar Park 39.64 36.5 11 2011
Reckahn Solar Park 36 2011
Lauingen Energy Park 25.7 26.98[46] 12 Completed in 2010
Pocking Solar Park 22
Mengkofen Solar Park 21.7
Rothenburg Solar Park 20
Other notable photovoltaic (PV) power plants[47]
DC Peak Power Location Description Annual yield Capacity factor Coordinates
12 MW Arnstein Erlasee Solar Park, 1408 SOLON 14,000 MWh 0.13 50°0′10″N 9°55′15″E / 50.00278°N 9.92083°E / 50.00278; 9.92083 (Erlasee Solar Park)
8.4 MW Göttelborn Gottelborn Solar Park n.a. n.a. n.a.
6.3 MW Mühlhausen Bavaria Solarpark, 57,600 solar modules 6,750 MWh 0.12 49°09′29″N 11°25′59″E / 49.15806°N 11.43306°E / 49.15806; 11.43306 (Bavaria Solarpark)
6.0 MW Doberschütz Rote Jahne Solar Park, 92,880 thin-film modules,
First Solar, FS-260, FS-262 and FS-265[48][49]
5,700 MWh n.a. n.a.
5.0 MW Bürstadt 30,000 BP Solar modules 4,200 MWh 0.10 49°39′N 8°28′E / 49.650°N 8.467°E / 49.650; 8.467
5.0 MW Espenhain 33,500 Shell Solar modules 5,000 MWh 0.11 51°12′N 12°31′E / 51.200°N 12.517°E / 51.200; 12.517
4.0 MW Merseburg Geiseltalsee Solarpark, 24,864 BP solar modules 3,400 MWh 0.10 51°22′N 12°0′E / 51.367°N 12.000°E / 51.367; 12.000 (Geiseltalsee Solarpark)
4.0 MW Hemau 32,740 solar modules 3,900 MWh 0.11 49°3′N 11°47′E / 49.050°N 11.783°E / 49.050; 11.783
3.3 MW Dingolfing Solara, Sharp and Kyocera solar modules 3,050 MWh 0.11 48°38′N 12°30′E / 48.633°N 12.500°E / 48.633; 12.500
1.9 MW Guenching Bavaria Solarpark, Sharp solar modules n.a. n.a. 49°16′N 11°34′E / 49.267°N 11.567°E / 49.267; 11.567 (Bavaria Solarpark)
1.9 MW Minihof Bavaria Solarpark, Sharp solar modules n.a. n.a. n.a.

Companies[edit]

A portion of the Waldpolenz Solar Park

Major German solar companies include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bundesnetzagentur – Photovoltaikanlagen: Datenmeldungen sowie EEG-Vergütungssätze (in German)
  2. ^ "Electricity production from solar and wind in Germany in 2014" (pdf). http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/ (in English). Fraunhofer Institute, Germany. 2014-04-21. p. 5. Archived from the original on 2014-07-22. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "German solar power output up 60 pct in 2011". Reuters. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Germany's Grid and the Market: 100 Percent Renewable by 2050?
  5. ^ Electricity Spot-Prices and Production Data in Germany 2013
  6. ^ Recent Facts about Photovoltaics in Germany, p.7
  7. ^ Average turn-key prices for roof-top PV systems up to 100 kWp. Sources: for data since 2009 photovoltaik-guide.de, pv-preisindex , using for each year average price of month of January. Data source for previous years (2006-2008), see Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft e.V. (BSW-Solar), September 2009, page 4, quarterly figures from EUPD-Research.
  8. ^ German solar power installations at record high in 2012
  9. ^ Eckert, Vera; Christoph Steitz (9 January 2012). "German solar boom strengthens critics of subsidies". Reuters. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  10. ^ Property Wire (2010-04-22). "Germany Reducing Incentives For Solar Property Investment". NuWire Investor. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  11. ^ Lang, Matthias (21 November 2011). "New German 7.5 GWp PV Record by End of 2011". German Energy Blog. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Germany
  13. ^ BSW-Solar – Statistische Zahlen der deutschen Solarstrombranche (Photovoltaik), Oct 2011
  14. ^ Lang, Matthias (14 October 2011). "2012 EEG Surcharge Increases Slightly to 3.592 ct/kWh". German Energy Blog. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Electricity
  16. ^ Morris, Craig (2 February 2012). "Merit order effect of PV in Germany". Renewables International. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  17. ^ EEX-Transparenzplattform – Tatsächliche Produktion Solar
  18. ^ Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme – Stromerzeugung aus Solar- und Windenergie im Jahr 2014
  19. ^ The U.S. Needs a Feed-in Tariff
  20. ^ PV Learning Curves:Past and Future Drivers of Cost Reduction
  21. ^ "Changes for solar in Germany". renewablesinternational.net. 3 April 2014. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ Energiewende
  24. ^ The “50.2 Hz” problem for photovoltaic power plants
  25. ^ Timeline of the mains frequency
  26. ^ Impact of Large-scale Distributed Generation on Network Stability During Over-Frequency Events & Development of Mitigation Measures
  27. ^ Döring, Michael (2013). "Dealing with the 50.2 Hz problem". http://www.modernpowersystems.com/. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  28. ^ "Germany's Network Agency says power outages "unlikely"". http://www.renewablesinternational.net/. 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  29. ^ Lovins, Amory (23 August 2013). "Separating Fact from Fiction in Accounts of Germany’s Renewables Revolution". http://energytransition.de/ (in English). Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  30. ^ Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit – Zeitreihen zur Entwicklung der erneuerbaren Energien in Deutschland (December 2013)
  31. ^ "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018". www.epia.org. EPIA - European Photovoltaic Industry Association. p. 34. Archived from the original on 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  32. ^ "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018". www.epia.org. EPIA - European Photovoltaic Industry Association. p. 24. Archived from the original on 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. 
  33. ^ Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2016, p.70
  34. ^ a b c d e f PV Resources.com (2009). World's largest photovoltaic power plants
  35. ^ Note that nominal power may be AC or DC, depending on the plant. See AC-DC conundrum: Latest PV power-plant ratings follies put focus on reporting inconsistency (update)
  36. ^ Lima Group: BV Neuhardenberg
  37. ^ CFB News: Commerz Real Acquires Germany’s Largest Solar Park
  38. ^ SolarServer: 78 MW of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic plant connected to grid in Senftenberg, Germany
  39. ^ Good Energies, NIBC Infrastructure Partners acquire Finsterwalde II and Finsterwalde III
  40. ^ Implementation of the 39 MWp – „Solar Park Finsterwalde II and Finsterwalde III“
  41. ^ a b Lieberose solar farm becomes Germany's biggest, World's second-biggest
  42. ^ Germany Turns On World's Biggest Solar Power Project
  43. ^ a b Germany's largest Solar parks connected to the grid (19 Dec 08)
  44. ^ Large photovoltaic plant in Muldentalkreis
  45. ^ Photovoltaik in Oberfranken: IBC SOLAR stellt Jura-Solarpark mit insgesamt 43 MW fertig
  46. ^ Lauingen Energy Park
  47. ^ World's largest photovoltaic power plants
  48. ^ Construction Complete on 6 MW Thin-Film PV Installation in Germany Renewable Energy Access, 5 April 2007.
  49. ^ http://www.webcitation.org/6QwLVgSYo Rote Jahne Factsheet (de)

External links[edit]