Last weekend, half of Germany’s electricity needs were met by solar power. That’s right, half!
In Australia, I think there is a lot of skepticism surrounding solar power. Large-scale solar power seems to be a pipe dream, with people skeptical of the technology, and of the ability to produce power on a big enough scale to make a difference.
Well, Germany has proven that it’s possible.
Germany has recently begun to close down its nuclear power plants in response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year in Japan. Eight plants have been closed already, with the remaining nine to close by 2022. These power plants will be replaced by renewable energy sources, including wind, solar and biomass.
A key driver of the change over to solar power is the institution of a feed-in-tarrif system (FIT). This means that individuals can install solar panels on their roofs and return power to the grid in return for money. We do have a similar system in place in Australia, however the scheme proved too popular and rebates have since been cut. Ridiculous!
Germany has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets about four percent of its overall annual electricity needs from the sun alone. It aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.
Given the HUGE amount of sunshine that we receive here in Australia, it seems completely absurd that we are not investing more in solar power. True, solar may be a more expensive solution in the short-term, however, we know that if solar technology is purchased in larger volumes, then the price will drop.
Solar just makes sense!!