Solar Energy Overflow in Germany

Wait...too much solar energy? These are words I thought I would never hear but as with anything in life, too much of a good thing always spells bad news. According to Stephan Kohler, chairman of the German Energy Agency (DENA), there is too much solar energy flowing into the country's aging energy grid and it is severely congesting power distribution.

Due to a large incentive program, government subsidies have caused solar energy to explode in popularity over the past year in Germany. Solar panels and photovoltaic plants are becoming not just a trend but a major tax incentive for German residents and businesses. While this may seem like a utopian power system, the fluctuating nature of solar power has been wreaking havoc on the already stressed German energy grid. Experts forecast between eight and ten gigawatts of solar power capacity to be installed this year in order to meet the demand. In 2009, only four gigawatts were installed.  A gigawatt is the equivalent energy output of one large coal-fired power plants so with the power equivalent of ten new plants, the Germany energy system is pushing its output limits and could essentially short circuit Germany's power system.

With all of this in mind one has to ask if solar is really right for renewable energy use? In an earlier planet forward video head of the GW Solar Institute Ken Zweibel urged America to look towards solar as the answer to our energy needs. While it is uncertain how Germany's power system will react to it's recent solar boom over the next coming years one thing is certain ; there is no energy cure all. Solar is clean and efficient and wind is easy but as shown in Germany, we cannot rely on each of these exclusively. There is a fine balance between all energy sources and until we figure out what that right balance is we cannot rely on single sentence answers to write our global energy doctrine.

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