Germany sets solar power generation twice 2011

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by bwilson4web, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    What is interesting is solar is peak-power versus base power:
    Source: Germany Sets a New Solar Power Record - 14.7 TWh in 6 months - CleanTechnica

    As peak power, solar and wind provide topping power to the base power systems. Meeting peak demand often is the most expensive power. For example, a gas-turbine generator can come online quickly but the lower efficiency means the cost per watt is about the highest. But solar, on average, tends to come during peak power demands so too does wind.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  2. kgall

    kgall Active Member

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    Just back from about 5 months in Freiburg, SW Germany. I have never seen as many solar panels as I did in southern Germany. This struck me as odd given that it is at about 48 degrees north--equivalent to being fairly close to the Canadian border in the American West. Plus, there's a fair amount of clouds and rain.

    So there's a lot less actual solar energy to be captured per square foot than, let us say, in the American Southwest, or even my current home state of Arkansas. But I don't see nearly as many solar panels here.
     
  3. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    There is a large feed through tarrif guaranteeing solar projects in Germany make money if they are built. Power is more expensive over there, which makes this add less to the bill than it would in the US.
     
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  4. kgall

    kgall Active Member

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    Thanks. What is a "feed through tarrif"? A guarantee that the electric company has to buy your power if you don't use it?
     
  5. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    Just goes to prove what many of us have said for years,,, PV does work, especially well for peak loads. Why we don't have waaay more PV in the SW and the prairies is beyond me!

    Icarus
     
  6. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    Yes.
     
  7. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    They set a rate for a number of years to buy your power that ensures its profitable. All the utility customers get this higher price averaged into their bill. This seems to be the best public/private type of incentive to get wind and solar added. The only question is how high the feed through price should be, as PV prices drop they drop the price on new power.

    Germany does show with proper incentives PV can expand rapidly. We don't want to over do it like spain did, but smart incentives should work here for solar, they already are for wind.
     
  8. snijd

    snijd DIY or die

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    Just noticed this thread. We're wrapping up a month-long vacation in Germany, where I've also been amazed at the number of PV installations in Southern Germany. Mostly rooftops, but not just on houses--also on stores, barns, parking garages. With recent changes in Germany's feed-in tariffs, big solar farms look to be doomed. Tariffs disappear above 10 MW.

    Germany Clubs Solar With New Feed-In Tariff Rates (CSIQ, FSLR, JASO, LDK, SOL)

    I'm guessing feed-in tariffs incentivise residential PV here, but isn't net metering more attractive in the USA?
     
  9. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Residential in the US is done with federal state and local incentives along sometimes with low interest loans. In the US we use net metering. This means that the utility may pay you as much for your power as it charges.

    This is quite different from germany. Translating from euros to dollars, they have dropped what they pay for residential power from 30 cents/kwh to 23 cents/kwh, when generated by solar. This is only a little more than the utility rate today, but was more before the cut to the tarrif. Everybody without solar is paying to subsidize solar. Now that the government seems closer to their goals there is no reason to make huge financial give aways to those companies making 10 MW and higher installations. They don't want to get in the situation of spain and get solar drastically overbuilt. If solar building falls below goals, and costs of panels does not continue down, they will likely raise the feed in tarrifs.

    Wind has a 2.2 cent/ kwh subsidy, which is a mix. In texas the state makes wind act like a feed through tarrif, but this is different than most states. The other thing being done in germany and texas is grid expansion, and implementation of a smart grid. This may make sense as a national policy.

    A feed through tarrif may be more effective than the credits and loans as germany has shown. When done correctly, it gets rid of one of the problems that came up with the solar water heating subsidy, when fly by night installers would simply hike prices to get government money, sometimes kicking some of the overcharge back. A feed through tarrif costs the governement or rate payers money in the future, not today, which is also a benefit when expanding in a weak recover.
     
  10. AllenZ

    AllenZ Active Member

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    I guess it is same as PIP. Why not all small to mid size new car customers buy PIP? It is obviously better, cleaner...
     
  11. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    How much does a pip cost compared to other cars? How does it accelerate and handle? Once you ask that you may find your answer.
    It depends quite a bit on where. Lots of different reasons for different places.
     
  12. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Must be that too much of our fly-ash coats PV panels - rendering them useless. Good thing we have all that (cough cough) clean coal to fall back on. Oh yea, Drill baby drill.
    ;)
    .
     
  13. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    Hill, California doesn't allow any new coal, they just haven't been able to close down 3120 GWh (2011) of in state coal. I'm sure this has something to do with grandfathering. I can't imagine that is much of a problem. You do import much coal electricity from other states, partly because really bad regulation/deregulation in your state. This was estimated at 21 Twh last year. The state could easily add natural gas, wind, and solar to be electricity self sufficient, and to reduce rates, but legislature seems positively anti-power generation. This leaves the state to buy coal, but pretend its really green. Increasing fast cycling combined cycle natural gas plants would quickly drop this out of state coal, and reduce electric pricess, while being compatible with adding more wind and solar in the future. Which means, yes, fracking will increase the "green" of the california grid. Building 5 GW of fast cycling combined cycle natural gas should be a prioritiy. If wind and solar come on-line, this will stay economic and old natural gas steam plants that can not cycle and use 50% more gas for the same power can be shut down.

    California is one state where home solar pv makes a lot of sense. Part of the reason it is better in california, is electric rates are high, which may have a lot to do with the regulation. Solar PV on individual homes and businesses has been growing fast in the last 4 years.

    California also has a feed-through-tarrif for utility solar. It is however lower than the price of solar pv. Perhaps prices will drop and the feed-through-tarrif will add more solar. The 30MW project that just went on line in December in austin, costs about 16.5 cents/kwh, depending on the weather, over its 25 year lease. The utility here can pass the cost along to rate payers through regulation. Increasing the california feed through to 16 cents may build a lot of solar. I don't know if that is in the best interest of rate payers though, as wind and natural gas are much less expensive than this.

    Total Electricity System Power
    In california last year the power was provided by wind 14.6 Twh of power, solar 1.2 Twh, Geothermal 13.3 Twh and coal 24 Twh. Even with large feed-in-tarrifs geothermal and wind will retain a much larger share of renewable power generation.
     
  14. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    oh I know . . . . the hypocrisy of bragging how we don't have coal as a big power source here - while we buy it elsewhere is laughable. Our increased electricity causes neighboring states to build more coal plants. Great - what's up w/ that. And with San Onofre Nuke's off line for cooling line repair/replacement - the 2012 summer in So Cal is likely to get dicy. We're having our 1st heat wave, just this week.
     
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