Solar power gains ground in Germany

Europe's largest economy shows that solar power can succeed even in northern climates.

Germany has long been a model for renewable energy production, obtaining more than one fourth of its electricity from clean energy sources including wind, solar, and biomass. But while wind has traditionally been the dominant producer of clean electricity in Europe's largest economy, the often cloudy northern European climate would not seem particularly conducive to the production of significant amounts of solar power.

Yet as Germany's second-largest source of clean energy, solar power jumped 50 percent in 2012 - from 4.1 to 6.2 percent of the country's electricity production - to a total of 24.9 terrawatt-hours. The result keeps solar power behind wind production - claiming 8.6 percent of the country's total electricity production this year - and ahead of biomass (with 5.8 percent of total production) and hydropower (3.8 percent).

Despite a few challenges - including a forthcoming tax aimed at paying for Germany's move away from nuclear energy - Chancellor Angela Merkel said she remained committed to achieving the country's goal of obtaining 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

If solar power can be a productive energy source in a country as far north as Germany, imagine how successful it could be if used widely in sunnier climes.

Photo: Flickr/Schwarzerkater

via [Earth Techling]

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