Germany sets new solar power record

2012-05-27 22:00

Berlin - 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.

They will be replaced by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts o f solar power per hour fed into the national grid on Saturday, met nearly 50% of the nation's midday electricity needs.

"Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity," said Allnoch.

"Germany came close to the 20 gigawatt (GW) mark a few times in recent weeks, but this was the first time we made it over."

The record-breaking amount of solar power shows one of the world's leading industrial nations was able to meet a third of its electricity needs on a work day, Friday, and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed.

Government-mandated support for renewables has helped Germany became a world leader in renewable energy and the country gets about 20% of its overall annual electricity from those sources.

Germany has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets about 4% of its overall annual electricity needs from the sun alone.

It aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2020.

  • Ian - 2012-05-27 22:47

    We have lots to learn!

      wesleywt - 2012-05-28 07:13

      This is just half the story. They have greatly increased their carbon emissions by using coal fire power stations to meet their base load demands. Well done though.

      Alan - 2012-05-28 09:59

      I think we have some pretty bright scientific people in SA. The problem is that we don't have a government that totally understands what's going on. If there ARE tenders for things like solar power, they take forever as ANC types try to grab their share. Oh how much better we would all be with a better government.

      GravityRider - 2012-11-05 20:10

      and the other truth is, they are importing massive amounts of baseload from France, a provider of predominantly nuclear energy. This is just the Greenparty playing a game of smoke and mirrors to appease their constituents. However, what I would like to see more of, is what teh Japanese will be doing ito wholesale switchover to renewable energy sources. They tend be fantastic innovators under duress. Given that Fukushima is represents their third nuclear disaster in the past 70 years, they have every motive on the public to demand taxpayer funds be truly and sincerely to solving their energy needs via the use of newables. The other lesson to learn is, that they are willing to suffer in the interim, because the reality is, we here in ZA cannot have our cake and eat it. No one can; germany is another poster child for our current way of life and energy demand: want to go green in a hurry? Suffer till the solution is developed. Go nuclear baseload Go coal basedload You can only pick one.

  • Bruce - 2012-05-27 23:19

    There should be no "per hour" in the report!

      Johan - 2012-05-28 08:11

      Yes, when I read that the credibility of the whole story went out the door. I wish journalists would learn some basic physics before they start writing reports on this kind of topic.

      Horst - 2012-05-28 11:27

      Well, yes, you are correct, but, I think, what they mean is that they got a rate of 22GW for one hour, most likely at midday. What I find strange is that thinking of the common 60 Watt panel, to produce power at the rate of 22 Gigawatt they would need 367 million of those panels. That is a huge number.

      don.mcarthur.7 - 2012-05-29 08:07

      And what kind of Nuclear Power station is rated at less than 1 GW? AFAIK, even old Koeberg is 1,8GW. And remarkably it will still work after dark.

  • Mandy Casey - 2012-05-27 23:23

    Well done, Germany. Time to mentor the rest of the world!

  • sycomachinery - 2012-05-27 23:36

    So eventually they will only have power when the sun shines

      renesongs - 2012-05-28 00:08

      Correct and the sun shines every day. You may want to get up to speed with photo-voltaic and energy storage technologies

      Press - 2012-05-28 02:53

      @Sycomachinery - Remarkably - Although you may not be aware of it - they have learned to transport electricity over very long distances - and the sun is likely to always shine somewhere on the planet for the next 6 billion years - now link the two facts and figure out the possibilities for yourself . . .

      Dee - 2012-05-28 06:55

      That's really interesting! Looking at the globe and available space - the Sahara looks a perfect place to start developing?!

  • rowen.loretz - 2012-05-27 23:37

    germany leads the way in innovation and technology

  • renesongs - 2012-05-27 23:57

    Way to go Germany

  • Alan - 2012-05-28 00:22

    The Germans sure know how to make something work very well!

      Oladimeji Sheriff Olalekan - 2012-05-28 07:13

      you rit,nigeria cant do dat bcos of lack of good leader

  • Vuyisile - 2012-05-28 05:46

    Vusi This is the way to go instead of relying on fossil fuel generated electricity. Lets improve our carbon footprint as a country. If Germany can do it, why can't sunny South Africa do it as well

      Raven - 2012-05-28 08:57

      BEE is why we cannot do it. Norwegian King came to SA to give us wind turbines from cape to antarctica, which would create 15000 permanent jobs and roughly 25 gigawatts output. The wanted to maintain 51% ownership and our friends at cANCer said NO! So china got the present.

  • Shaheen Omer - 2012-05-28 08:00

    Watts per hour = energy hence "per hour" in report

      Mike - 2012-05-28 08:39

      No chap, a Watt is 1 joule per second, the general way of quantifying electrical energy is Wh so in this case GWh not "per hour".

  • hheiriss - 2012-05-28 09:48

    This is a great story! Imagine what could be done in South Africa, were solar energy is so abundant! Go Germany!!

  • Zing - 2012-05-28 10:57

    Interesting they should air this story only a month after this one:

  • mal10s - 2012-05-28 12:34

    "22 gigawatts of electricity per hour" Just goes to show again what happens when people don't remember the basic science education they were provided with at school. "22 gigawatts of electricity" would have sufficed, because a gigawatt, as any high school student will tell you, is a gigajoule PER SECOND.

  • mal10s - 2012-05-28 12:34

    "22 gigawatts of electricity per hour" Just goes to show again what happens when people don't remember the basic science education they were provided with at school. "22 gigawatts of electricity" would have sufficed, because a gigawatt, as any high school student will tell you, is a gigajoule PER SECOND.

  • alwyn.vantonder - 2012-05-28 15:12

    WELL DONE! I hope the idiots at the ANC and ESCOM will pay attention to this, and stop the Nuclear power plants they want to implement here.. They made such a mess with the management of ESCOM, they will surely mess up any Nuclear station as well!

  • pages:
  • 1