Germany's Problem: Too Much Solar Power
Image: Flickr via OregonDOT
The electricity grid in Germany is actually in trouble because of too much solar power feeding into it. At least that's what the chairman of the DENA agency, which advises the government on energy, has warned.
Thanks in part to subsidies by the German government, solar installations have been spreading like wildfire. UPI reports that between eight and 10 gigawatts of solar capacity, which is equivalent to about 10 coal-fired power plants, are expected to be installed this year alone.
The network is facing congestion because of all this solar power, according to the DENA agency chairman, Stephan Kohler, although the solar industry disagrees.
Kohler has called on Germany to scale back the growth of solar power, and recommends the government impose a cap of 1 GW per year. UPI reports that at the current rate, Germany would have almost 50 GW of solar capacity by 2013, and Berlin recently agreed to reduce subsidies for rooftop solar panels by 16 percent—that's down from up to subsidies of 50 percent, in some cases.
Compare that with the U.S., where the tax incentives for solar vary but never come close to the benefits fossil fuels get: according to 1BOG, the average U.S. taxpayer has paid $521.73 toward fossil fuel subsidies over the last five years—and $7.24 towards solar.