German Solar Output Increases by 60% in 2011

Just weeks after the solar industry installed the one millionth system in Germany, the country’s solar trade association announced that the technology accounted for 3% of total energy generation in 2011 — increasing 60% over 2010 to 18.6 terawatt-hours (18.6 billion kilowatt-hours.)

Even with changes to the feed-in tariff that have reduced solar photovoltaic installations compared with previous boom years, the sector was still the fastest growing among all other renewable energy sectors in 2011, according to preliminary figures.

This follows data released last week showing that renewable energy accounted for 19.9 percent of electricity production in the country in 2011, growing 16.4 percent over 2010. Meanwhile, overall energy use in the country fell 4.8% due to warmer temperatures and increasing efficiency efforts, further boosting the value of solar generation.

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26 Responses to German Solar Output Increases by 60% in 2011

  1. Leif says:

    Why can’t this be the USA? Is it possible that the fossil industry feels threatened? or Just wants more profits and do whatever is necessary to get them? Including selling out the well being of the Nation, its people and earth’s life support systems in the process? No, even they would not stoop that low, would they?

  2. Ole Sumfleth says:

    I have to say, I have grown very cautious with data and graphs presented by interest groups, whatever side they are on. Nevertheless, the results are quite impressive.

    If anyone wonders, the translation of the graphic is:
    “Solar Power Record Year 2011”
    “Production increase by approx. 60%to 18.6bn kwh.”
    and at the bottom:
    “Source: ÜNB, EEX, our own calculations, BSW-Solar; preliminary.”

  3. John Tucker says:

    If it is they are impressive indeed. Mind you France’s nuclear output is around 426 TWh but its still is more than I expected given light levels in Germany. German nuclear output was 148 TWh in 2008.

  4. MorinMoss says:

    While I think the German retreat from nuclear is a mistake, especially if it leads to an increase in the use of coal, I’m glad that the use of solar is increasing.

    If only all North America was as committed

  5. “If only all North America was committed”

    Exactly. And the worst part is that even up here in Canada, we have much greater solar resources than Germany. According to Natural Resources Canada, the very southern part of Germany gets 1000-1100 kWh/kW while most of Canada is between 1100 to +1400 kWh/kW. (I hope those are the right units.)

  6. Steve Lounsbury says:

    This could be us if not for the Republican Congress blocking every effort to improve our lives via alternative energy resources.

    Oh, oh, oh that’s right … they’re busy protecting the wealth of the Koch Suckers.

  7. Leif says:

    One must remember that wind is in reality a solar source and can be a much better resource than PV in the north country. Short winter daylight takes its toll on winter production where well sited wind tends to be 24/7 -30% all day. Wind can also be stored in compressed air and heat for greenhouses or even homes, tools, farm equipment. All with off the shelf technology.

  8. David B. Benson says:

    Germany’s off-shore wind woes:,1518,805505,00.html

    And of course even without this, off-shore wind is certainly one of the more expensive methods of generating electricity.

  9. Paul Revere says:

    Too bad that closing all the German nuclear reactors by 2022 will more than offset any gains from solar or wind power between now and then.

  10. Coventina says:

    Other free countries like Germany are WAY ahead of the U.S. don’t be fooled we are years behind progress for the better of our kids future and our Earth. :( Thanks to the greed in Congress and the uneducated in this country.

  11. Leif says:

    Paul & David: You folks appear to not factor environmental consequences of nuclear exploitation into your thinking. After the initial build out of renewable energy, which I grant you will be massive, the future fuel costs are minimal. Where you see costs. I see jobs and investment in a sustainable society and earth’s life support systems. Where you see all with the energy consumption of the worst of us, working longer hours to pay mounting costs, I see conservation and more free time to enjoy life, love and the pursuit of happiness. I see a slow draw down of atmospheric CO2 and ocean acidification. A healing of the planet and minimizing the assault on human dignity and a greener future for generations to come.

  12. John Tucker says:

    What are those factors?

    Nuclear per unit of power generated is lower carbon or comparable to solar and wind.

    Under normal operation Nuclear power is steady 80 percent of nameplate capacity. Solar is intermittent 20 – 60 percent (pv-thermal) and Wind varies from intermittent 25 – 70 (?) percent.

    There are no known detrimental health effects from the normal operation of Nuclear power. Casualties from accidents are significantly less than all standard base-load means of power generation.

    Environmental impact, depending on the installation is comparable or less than renewables.

    All regular costs factored for Nuclear it is competitive to slightly more expensive than other means of power generation. All costs factored in including climate change, environmental impact (pollution, land use, parts/fuel manufacture, cogeneration requirements) and bulk power produced Nuclear is probably comparable to hydro-power or by far the least expensive.

    (sourced corrections apprciated)

  13. John Tucker says:

    Thats also a guesstimate under normal manufacture and operation. Obviously as solar PV has no moving parts a environmentally responsible and cleanly manufactured quality unit could have a 30 + year lifespan. In such a case under proper install and disregarding its intermittent nature I would imagine it would win in the long term hands down.

  14. John Tucker says:

    Also as natural gas makes up much of the slack in power production these days, and as that gas is obtained by hydrofracking, a process suspected of causing everything from minor earthquakes to major pollution, that needs to be considered.

    You will remember Yucca flats was researched safe out to the 10,000 year mark as a waste disposal site and somehow was shut down. Meanwhile unknown toxins, known carcinogens and chemicals ALL with NO half lives are pumped into wells by the millions of gallons and basic ingredient reports are not even required. .

    Whats even more hilarious is up to around 20 percent of these fluids return to the surface contaminated with radiation at “Hundreds or THOUSANDS of times” safe drinking water standards which is flushed virtually untreated into waterways, even upstream of drinking water intakes. And no one bats an eyelash. ( ).

    In 2005 fracking fluids were made exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act (—h000-.html )[section D]

  15. Raul M. says:

    for most industries a success rate of 399out of 400 would be considered very good.
    Is it so with nuclear?
    Of course, the promise was 400 out of 400 would be completely safe.
    Do we now ask ourselves to believe that all is well with 399 completely safe out of 399?

  16. Stephan says:

    I will never understand why the people in the USA do prefer to buy energy from large corporations instead of making it themselves.

    There is no need for huge centralised energ production in large parts of a country like the US blessed with sun, wind, running waters, geothermal heat…..

    I guess over the years America has become a place a central planning and not of economic sense.

    As for nuclear: If an energy company can provide a contry with a insurance policy covering all the costs of the aftermath of any incident up to Fukushima size then I agree that it should build such a plant. Thing is: NOWHERE in the world any insurance company could economically cover that risk. If a risk can not be insured via the financial markets and institutions where is evidently no economic need for that risk!

    Greetings from Germany – wich could be fossile fuel and nuclear energy free by 2030 but wont make it that far by 2050 due to too much lobbying from huge energy companies :-(

  17. David B. Benson says:

    My understanding is that Germany is planning to build up to 17 new coal burners. Does that tell you something?

  18. Spike says:

    Just one Scottish power company reached 1GW of wind power last year

  19. Mike#22 says:


    Germany is phasing out coal as well as nuclear.


  20. Yevez NutZ says:

    Nuclear is a disaster bound to happen, anytime, anywhere it’s built. Solar is constantly being denied as a valid source although it’s so obvious that it is great, just feel the sun. Big oil is like a Dinosaur going to extinction, will we let them take us out with them. The oil and gas lobbies are way too powerful and prevent the greatest of inventions to prevail and bring a bright future to most of us. Go Germany. Power to solar and renewable.

  21. Dr.A.Jagadeesh says:

    Great. Germany is leader in Solar Energy.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

  22. Kent Otho Dolering says:

    Germany is shifting from an expensive nuclear exit policy of shut down/demolish/
    replace to shut down – upgrade generators – drive deep geothermic heat wells to power steam generators and add heat reacpture p.g., bringing the ex-reactors back on line with close to 200% p.g. output. With on-site radioactive wawste transmuatipon systems.

    Excess power from those and surges in renewables will generate hydrogen into the gas grids as a form of power buffer.

    Over the mid and long term, converting strip mined brown coal operating plants to deep geothermic-heat recapture is also beyond the preliminary discussion phase. These will be hooked up to expanding long distance heat-hot water systems.(coupled co-generative systems) These will also have upgraded generators.

    Lacking space for garbage dumps most German city utilities long ago built bio waste methane recapture blended with natural gas to fie igh temperature sewager sludge and garbage waste incineration plants which also feed a cites long distance heat and hot water system. Everything I throw into trash and flush down the toilet is lterally returned to me in the form of power and long distance heat.

    Existing hydroelectric is being upgraded with new A ++++ generators, yielding an up to 30% increase in hydro-electric power output by 2025.
    Germans developed and patented floating,
    anchored, on-stream power generation. They are not only an excellent export item, but anchored out of the way of river traffic, 3000 big ten megawatt units will be putting another, constant 30.000 megawatts onto the grid by 2025. All extra power from that will go into generating hydrogen energy buffering going into storage and onto the grid.

    German revised building codes mandate combined concentrated solar heat – shallow geothermicor hook up to long distance heat from utilities on all new buildings. By
    2025, nother 2 million older buildings will have also been retrofitted with these heating oil and natural gas saving devices.

    Thanks to direct and indirect subsidy programs such as mandated local utility buy back, many German farms are already equipped with solar voltaic and village cooperative operating wind turbines. 1.5 % of all German farms are already equipped with septic tank gas recapture-septic tank sludge-celluose waste roting methane recapture or cow manure methane recapture.

    By adding something called HHO browns gas generation andd radical steam ionisation to the fuel cells we boost output whiole slashing re-captured methane consumption by 90%. Surprise.

    By 2025, in addition to solar p.v. and wind, methane recapapture/aqueous systems on farms will be putting out an average of 50 kWh and a mix of mixed recaptured methane and hydrogen of about 4 cubic meters per farm. I-E. another 10.000 mWh constnatly feeding the grid and about 800.000 cubic meters a day of mixed methane hydrogen going into the national gas grid.

    With all the wind solar and other distributed energy feeds, German, Swiss, and Austrian ulities laid and are laying optical fibre cable not only for telecommunications-
    but for true, fast response smart grid co-ordination of all the decentralized power sources.

    At its beginning phases, Germany is replacing its pure natural gas or heating oil heat systems with coupled co-generative systems, either fuel cells also generating heat, or vw Gulf engines driving 30 KW generators. Now new advances let these be operated off approximately 10 percent recapture methane-hydrogen, and 80% “aqueous fuels systems.” Thermostadt and smart grid coordinated controlled- belonging to mostly communally owned utilities.

    In addition to owning, operating, and upgrading its own power geration system, state owned German rail is upgrading its national German grid to commercially carry
    HTDC power. So are French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish rail.

    “Westwind” will put up over 15.000 wind turbines on the Western and northern coasts of the Iberian Pensula and France.

    The French-German “Deertec Consortium” was originally scheduled at a 400 billion Euro investment, but now Morocco,, Algeria, Tunesia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Libya andd Egypt are coming in an upping the ante.

    By 2030, Desertec cooncentrated solar will covere more than 15% of all future mediterrean basin and French German power needs.

    As an American ex-pat working in the “sustainability” sector, I do wish that U.S commentators would adapt a more “wait and see” attitude towards the massively growing German sustainability sector rather than rushing to early conclusions.

    Nobody ovr there wa expoecting Germaqny to take an alternative route in its nuclear shutdown program – upgrading generators and converting to deep geothermic and heat recaputure- bringing them back online genearating close to 200% the power.

    The last German nuclear power plants will go off line at the end of 2022, and be back up on line with deep geothermic heat recaputre by the end of 2022.

    We should be off fossil for stationary power and heat systems by the end of 2025 according to city owned Munich utilities- with more than double the power heat output of 2011. That all adds up to ore exports in the sustainability secgtor and more margin with full employment.
    Think progress green should keep a closer eye on what is going on in Europe right now to cotinuously cut consumption while increasing performance.

    as for myself, converting nuclear to deep geothermic is my “brainstorm baby”-It is not only 60% more cost effective than shut down, demolish, and replace, but actually save over 10.000 jobs at E-ON, RWE, Vattenvall, and ENB.

    jGermany has cut its fossil fuel consumpiton since reunifition by 50% since 1992. Munich already has a per capita fossil fuel consumption of only 30% of a comparable U.S. regikon such as Wshingotn DC. area. That 70% difference already spells margin and less than 3% unemployment.

    You also have your stats wrong. Including high temperature waste incineration, deep geothermic, concetrated solar thermic already coming from the Sahara,and all forms of hydro-eledctric which often slip
    s under the radar-renewables already supply more than 27% percent of the energy going into the German grid.

    In Munich, the figure is aleady closer to 60% with the utilities operting the biggest solar voltaic installation in Euope roofing
    the new Munich trade fair center with it, Augmenting Europes most extensive, most intesively connected, long distance heat hot water system from the thermodynamic power plants plants with deep geothermic, a brand new deep geothermic/heat recapture power plant on the western edge of the city, also feeding long distance heat+hot water grid, the city gas/nat gas fired sewage sludge and and garbage incineration plant, 40% Alpine foothill hydro-electric now being upgraded with new A +++ generators for 30% more imporoved hydrualic mehcnical to electrical power efficiency. Mandated buy back from all the massive solar voltaic installations going in, local wind, participation in NOrth and Baltic sea wind farms. Scheduled participation in Desertec, and Bavarian anchored onstream hydro-electric. Munich power plant south upgraded 15 years ago to combined cycle with a G.E. gas turbine, with hot exhausts drving a steam turbine… with long distqnce heat hot water.

    The utilities also oppearte Europes best, state-of-the art, energy saving urban transit system… with common rail diesel single frame and jointed low entry busses, brake eregy recycling streetcar-light rail, and brake energy recycling subways lines iknterconnecting with German commmuter rail-also, brake energy recycling at points all over town.

    I could continue but I would violatre confidencer were i to report about other energy devedlopments i Germany.

    I do wish TP Green Writers would bother to stay up to date with European developments, facts and stats. All in all, if you want what we´ve got and to get t even remotely near to where we are going, you have to do what we did to get it.

    American Airlines placed a huge 20 billion
    Euro order with Airbus because it is already more 30% more fuel efficient than older Airbus models. Two other measure further cut consumption another 50%. Soon in testing. Comptrollers worried about operation fuel costs will tip more sales the way of Airbus. Imagine a 2014 new A 380 coming off the line in 2014 which uses 70% less kerosene than than a Boeing 747 on comparable stretches. Cutting 70% of the kerosene in ar travel is definitely green.
    We will do the same with automotive, rail, and maritime applications.

    Off nuclear by the end off 2022 means them all back on line putting out double the power by the end of 2023.Off fossil for all other stationary apps is achievabke by the end of 2025. Slashing fossil fuel in all transportation aviation, maritime, rail, autoomotive by at least 85% is do-able here by the end of 2025.And despite the massive cuts, European refineries will continue to process at full speed and ship fhished product via Rotterdam, Frial, Marseilles, Bremen, Bremerhaven to unloading points in the U.S.

    This looks like the approximate scnarios for Germany and the continental EEC over the next 13 years.

    Happy 2012 to all of you at TP Green. Fukishima reshuffled the “sustainability” card deck in Europe. Reactor shut down and demolition with replacement with other energy forms is now perceived as the most expensive and least feasible of options.

    Sustainability based recovery is now the prime goal of the continental Eurozone EEC.
    General sustainability will surpass the automotive industry as the biggest sector in the German GNP. It will reach over 20% of the gnp by 2020.Sustainability technology helped boost German exports from 8000 billion in the crash year of 2008, to projected export volume of over 1.4 trillion Euros for fiscal year 20011, ending at the end of March. Most 9f that wa accounted for by export to other EEC countries and the BRICK- Brazil, Russia, India, China, Korea-south, followed by OPEC states, nafta; the
    Association of Southwest African States,South Africa. GE just backed out of massive deal for 24.700 wind turbines in Africa as they could not swing the forward financing.That is being split by Dutch Philipps, French Alstrom, and German Siemens.

    Major Indian industrial groups selected Phoenix and Schott Solar to build local production of concentratd solar units- on close to 3000 square kilometrs arid-semi arid lands forward financed by massive OPEC BRICK development funds.

    One drunken after hours remark by a Britisch subject negotiating for G.E. to a minister of energyin Windhuk last year queered an almost done deal for 24.7000 wind turbines in Southern Arica another ten thhousand on the Eastern Hrn and Arabia, perhpas another 10.000 on the Inian coastline. The contracts ae now being divided uop between
    Philipps, Alstrom, Lockheed, and Siemens.
    Have a Happy 2012 at TP Green

    Kent O. Doering

  23. Dorothee says:

    You did not even mention the problem of nuclear waste – in Europe, there are no safe places, for thousands of years – and I doubt there are in the rest of the world!

  24. Dorothee says:

    A Chinese company just bought a German Solar
    firm having financial problems. Pretty soon the Chinese will be ahead, at least as long as their production costs are low. How about a start-up in India?

  25. MorinMoss says:

    But even by 2030, they still won’t be rid of coal? They should keep the nukes, stop building more coal plants and phase coal out as quickly as possible