Germany: Record 40 percent solar weekend

29. May 2012 | Markets & Trends, Global PV markets, Top News | By:  Jonathan Gifford

Early summer weather has seen Germany’s photovoltaic power plants feed 22 gigawatts (GW) back into the grid in a 24-hour period. In fact, so high was production that on Saturday at midday, 40 percent of the country’s total energy demand was supplied by solar power.

The German flag.

An impressive production record was achieved by Germany's solar installations over the weekend.

While political debate and uncertainty still swirls around the photovoltaic industry in Germany, the installations in place have fed a world record amount of electricity into the country's electricity grid. The head of Germany’s renewable energy agency (the IWR), Norbert Allnoch said that the 22 GW of production, recorded on Saturday May 27, is the equivalent of production from 20 nuclear power plants.

"There are currently no other countries on earth, producing [through the means of] solar plants, with a capacity of over 20,000 MW of electricity," Allnoch said in a statement.

Contrary to many reports that photovoltaics force up electricity bills for all consumers, the opposite was observed as the solar power kicked in. Called the merit order effect, solar power fed back into power grids brought down the price of electricity over the weekend in Germany. The IWR this is amplified by the fact that photovoltaics provides supply at times when demand is high.

With weak demand for electricity expected leading into Whitsun public-holiday weekend and vast supply of photovoltaic generated electricity forecast, Platts has reported that electricity prices fell dramatically in trading on Friday, May 26, for the whole weekend period. The electricity information provider reported that power for delivery traded at €27.60/MWh (US$34.70), down €90 (US$1.13) cents from the previous day’s trading and €4 (US$5) below the previous weekend’s price.

In announcing the production figures, the IWR also observed that solar-produced electricity tends to replace expensive gas-fired plants during peak times.

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