Monday, January 9, 2012

Solar Power in Germany

We've all heard about Germany and how well they do solar power.

Well, here is a cool website that shows how well they do with their PV system.
You can see how widely deployed the installations are. But you also see how poorly it really does...Even on a sunny summer day, they get at most 10GW of peak power.

So how does this stack up to their electricity consumption?

According to Wikipedia, Germany used 500TWh of electricty in 2009 (their "needs", in other words). From the link above, we see that at most, their PV installations give 10GW peak, at noon on a sunny day. Assuming every day is a sunny day, I can integrate the area below the curve to get about 55 GWh per day, 365 days/year, for a total of 20TWh per year.

That's a mere 4% of the demand, assuming that every day is a sunny day.

Now, the feed-in tariff (ie. the guaranteed price for the producer) is about $0.16 per kWh for PV electricity in Germany. Pretty sweet deal for the producers, if you ask me. BC Hydro isn't giving deals like this; I pay about half of this for my electrons.

If 4% of my electricity comes from PV and costs 2x the regular price, and 96% is regular price, that results in an increase of about 4% on everyone's bill. This is what is going on in Germany.  So far, they can afford it. But it is hard to see how to scale this up to meet more than a cosmetic amount of their society's energy needs...

Here's what they are looking at now...

1 comment:

  1. Hee hee... integrate the area under the curve... I liked my Intro to Calculus class so much I took it three times!