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 Germanys 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 days trading and 4 (US$5) below the previous weekends price.
In announcing the production figures, the IWR also observed that solar-produced electricity tends to replace expensive gas-fired plants during peak times.