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Cloudy Germany a Powerhouse in Solar

Energy:
When we talk about solar energy I think it's very necessary to talk about the biggest
producer and user of this cheap clean energy. We should talk about this country which
sun is not present for most than half the day because of clouds. We should take it as
an ideal solar power producer. It uses 55% of its energy from the sun.
Germany solar power history began in ESPENHAIN, Germany -- When it opened
here in 2004 on a reclaimed mining dump, the Goessel solar plant was the biggest of
its kind in the world. It is so clean and green that it produces zero emissions and so
easy to operate.
The plant is part of a building boom that has made sad Germany the unlikely global
leader in solar-generated electricity. Last year, about half of the world's solar
electricity was produced in the country. Of the 20 biggest photovoltaic plants, 15 are
in Germany, even though it has only half as many sunny days as countries such as
Portugal.

The reason of this step is a law adopted in 2000. It requires the country's huge old-
line utility companies to support the solar upstarts by buying their electricity at
marked-up rates that make it easy for the newcomers to turn a profit. Their cleanly
created power enters the utilities' grids for sale to consumers.
Since the Geosol plant was built, it has been eclipsed in size by six other German
solar plants

Last year, German exports accounted for 15 percent of worldwide sales of solar
panels and other photovoltaic equipment, according to industry officials. German
companies hope to double their share of the global market, which amounted to $9.5
billion last year and is growing by about 20 percent annually.

PV Installations by Year in Germany (in Megawatts)


1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996

Total 0.60 1.00 3.10 3.5 4.0 5.9 10.6

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

14.5 12.6 16.5 44.0 80.0 83.0 145.0

For now, the technology remains expensive and barely registers as a fraction of total
energy production -- less than 0.5 percent. The government hopes to increase that
figure to 3 percent by 2020.
Two decades ago, the region was part of communist East Germany and known for
that coal industry, which employed 8,000 people. After the reunification of Germany
in 1990, most of those jobs quickly disappeared, but this part of the state of Saxony
continued to suffer from air and water pollution from the mines.
Unlike the coal mines, the solar plant makes almost no noise, save for the low thrum
of a few outdoor air-conditioning units that cool the electrical transformers. The plant,
with 33,500 solar panels, sits on a 37-acre site in a field off a rural road and requires
scarcely any maintenance.
On a tour of the property, Koch, the manager, acknowledged that eastern Germany
is not the ideal site for collecting the sun's rays.
By 2010, the European Union expects Renewable Energy sources to
.contribute 22% of all power production

Facts and numbers:


• The price for solar cells is about 3.5 USD per cell (about 1,5Wpeak)

• The price for solar modules is 3.5 USD peak Watt

• Minimum purchase is 1 kW peak.

Selected Energy Statistics by Country (1998)

CO2
Electricity per
GDP (US CO2 per
Population consumption unit
$) capita
kWhr per capita of
GDP
Brazil 165.87 576.41 1850.78 1.78 0.51
Canada 30.30 666.72 16348.68 15.75 0.72
China 1238.60 805.26 871.91 2.30 3.54
France 58.85 1349.20 7175.10 6.38 0.28
Germany 82.02 1883.53 6481.51 10.45 0.46
India 979.67 499.31 415.75 0.93 1.82
Japan 126.49 3303.58 8008.33 8.92 0.34
United
59.24 1123.21 5800.11 9.28 0.49
Kingdom
United
269.09 7043.64 13388.11 20.10 0.77
States

1999 Electricity consumption by Country in Billion kilowatt hours

Canada 497.5 South Africa 172.4


Mexico 170.8 Russia 728.0
USA 3235.9 Australia 178.3
Brazil 353.7 China 1084.1
France 398.8 India 424.0
Germany 495.2 South Korea 232.8
United Kingdom 333.0 Japan 947.0

Gross Domestic Product (2000

GDP 2000
(in US Dollars, Billion)
United States $ 9,963*
Japan $ 4,614
Germany $ 1,867
United Kingdom $ 1,415
France $ 1,281