Saturday, September 1, 2012

Germany Sets New Solar Power Record -- Reuters

I completely missed this story; it must have "happened" while I was traveling. I completely missed it; it's a huge story.

In late July, 2012, a "the head of a renewable energy think tank" said that Germany set a new solar record: producing 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour -- equal to 20 nuclear stations at full capacity, through the midday hours of Friday and Saturday on/about July 26, 2012.

Germany, apparently, has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets ... drum roll ... four percent of its overall annual electricity from the sun alone.

Unfortunately, there is no industrial-strength storage system that can store energy provided by the sun.

Somewhere around noon on any given sunny day, the German utilities are forced to bring down conventional power to "make room" for the solar-generated electricity that is being pushed into the grid, and then bring up those same coal-fired utilities as the sun fades later in the day.

Coal-generated electricity costs about six cents per kw/hr in the United States. The Germans pay about 23 cents per kw/hr and solar energy adds about 2 cents per kw/hr. According to the Reuters article, German consumers pay about $5 billion per year on top of their electricity bills for  solar power.

But Germany, for now, has bragging rights: the capacity to provide a fair amount of solar electricity on sunny days at heavy cost, direct and indirect.

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