Debating Germany PV: misfortune fortune depends on?

Polaris solar PV net news: nuclear, wind, photovoltaic, renewable energy, distributed … … A keyword points to the heart of Europe, known as Germany. And were given new energy development, “Vanguard”, “benchmarking”, “role model” after Halo, questioning and criticism are also on the rise. Summarizes our views on both sides, also featured a very representative of the commentary.

Germany is the world’s first mechanism fixed feed-in tariff (FIT, our new benchmark is often referred to price) to support new energy development in the State. In 2000, Germany enacted the world’s first renewable energy law, then according to the changing situation, has carried out four major revisions. Germany new energy policy also has a demonstration effect on other countries, its influence far beyond Germany itself. However for some time, Germany PV policy criticism ceased.

One of the criticisms: Germany very poor light conditions, photovoltaic power generation is not an economic

Critics believe that Germany solar radiation is very low, PV annual full load hours and only about 800 hours (United States almost Germany twice times), converted the capacity factor of only 9%. Although Germany solar units cost United States half of, but due to lower utilization hours, the final cost per kilowatt was almost flat, resulting in Germany is “high capacity and low capacity”. Due to the high cost per kilowatt, Germany need massive subsidies for PV, and these subsidies are ultimately borne by the user, making Germany electricity prices soaring, become the EU after Denmark’s second high-price countries. “Proponents argue that these are facts, but there is one thing, Germany over the years this sort of” self-sacrifice “type of spirit, which makes the global PV cost falling fast, creating conditions for large-scale development of photovoltaic power generation in other countries. 】

Criticism II: photovoltaic power fluctuation and strong, PV subsidies large flows to neighbouring countries

A criticism of déjà vu, Yes, Denmark with their subsidized expensive wind turbine replacement Nordic Norway cheap electricity has been the fact that Denmark national criticism and questioning of certain interest groups, since the arguments there have been fierce completely subsided. Germany PV now faces a dilemma. Noon is Germany the photovoltaic make time because PV at the lowest marginal costs on the electricity market, and has the right to priority scheduling, when at noon after a large PV, Germany power market will supply exceeds demand, market prices sharply lower, at certain times may even be “negative Valence”. Appear negative, meaning that if generators want to remain in power, it is necessary to pay back to the user. In the case of oversupply, Germany power at a very low price or even negative price deliveries to neighboring countries, this is equivalent to Germany subsidies along with the delivery of the PV electricity flows to neighbouring countries. “Proponents argue that this is not true, but need to be considered from all angles. Germany is concerned, might actually mean loss of national wealth, but in the process of integration of the EU as a whole, benefits are increased, or decreased it, this will require further research and analysis. 】

Criticism of the three: photovoltaic power generation is coming up, and coal in counter attack

Germany reverse hit coal and electricity are also hot topics in media some time ago. Germany has decided to abandon its nuclear program, but not as exciting as some one analyses will change in the future, open bow no turning back. Accounted for domestic electricity 10% above of nuclear power no has zhihou, by what to cover does? wind electric and PV, new energy is preferred, but reality in the occurred of facts is is: United States large cheap coal influx European, Germany coal electric economic sex is good, coal electric also can bear adjustable peak service, so appeared has coal electric “not drop anti-increased” of “wonders”, which led to carbon emissions volume also up has, development new energy of emission reduction volume does not can offset coal electric increased of carbon emissions volume. “That may be” energy transformation “strategic decision-makers is also unexpected. Germany coal recovery so far, there are special conditions of space and time, but coal power recovery is the result of market choice. 】

Of course, Germany PV policy criticism is far more than that, like conventional power to frequently lift output, resulting in running economy declined significantly, coal and electricity consumption increases, and so on. In the literature, the most representative of the article was written by American RyanCarlyle Should Other Nations Follow Germany’s Lead On Promoting Solar Power?.

We also found that, in Germany the photovoltaic in criticism of the policy, naturally there is no lack of self-criticism of the Germans, but Germany is fierce most active are American. The reasons behind it, perhaps with the United States were advocating free market competition, against the idea of government intervention through subsidies are not unrelated. In the United States who think, can new energy development depends crucially on the new competitive energy itself, all cost-benefit-oriented. At this point, seems to be with Germany the so-called “social market economy” differs from philosophy. Photovoltaic and renewable energy should not develop? how? Germans in reflection, my “Thirteen-Five” planned soon, new energy in our country go from here? In any case, the energy evolution and understanding and grasp of the historical experience and lessons, and always makes us less wood.

Does Germany really PV development model?

Answer is obviously “no”.

Solar energy itself is a useful technique, but Germany’s renewable energy policy is a disaster. Because it is bad for consumers, bad for the manufacturers, is bad for the environment.

Only home owners solar and solar panel installation companies profit from Germany of the media and the public is more and more opposition and dissatisfaction with PV development.

I was surprised to discover Germany those world famous energy policy is so useless, expensive and inefficient. Germany is a serious problem, for the rest of the world want to emulate Germany of countries and regions is a serious problem. Probably in the past year, policy failure began to expand. Renewable energy supporters so I forgive, because they are not aware of these issues in the past. But now it is time to “green movement” a 180-degree turn.

First, I list some of the worst statistics:

Germany is widely considered to be the world leader in solar energy. It accounted for more than one-third of the world in installed solar capacity. Germany with abundant resources and enormous subsidies, higher energy costs than California, had more than twice the per capita installed capacity.

Germany’s residential electricity cost about $0.34/kWh, is one of the highest levels in the world. About $0.07/kWh directly to subsidies for renewable energy, and this is even better than the European wholesale electricity prices even higher. (Which means they are less than expenses from France and Denmark to buy zero-carbon electricity. ), Each year more than 300,000 users because they couldn’t afford electricity and had to power outages. Many people complain of residents due to the commercial tariff exemption policy price is too high, but even excluding these, they can save at most once each month for less than a euro. 40% government electricity by 2020 is expected to grow again.

Due to the high price and power management problems, Germany’s power supply company and lost huge amounts of taxpayers ‘ money. Environment Minister said failure to shrink the project scope, cost will reach 1 trillion euros over the next 20 years. This amount did not include spending hundreds of millions of. Siemens estimated direct costs of the transition to 2050 energy policy will reach $ 4.5 trillion, equal to Germany 50 2.5% per cent of total GDP. This does not include economic losses caused by high energy prices, it is hard to quantify, but it must be a great influence.

Discouraging is that the latest figures showed that while the economy developed steadily, and the population gradually decreased Germany’s carbon emissions and the effects of global warming are on the rise. This is because the wrong priority of renewable energy market mechanism, paradoxically this mechanism to promote the development of coal-fired electricity. Large-scale photovoltaic power generation without energy storage device has an obvious shortcoming is that it worked 5-10 hours a day. Must be instantaneous balance between electricity supply and demand. Germany in summer more solar, you need more coal-fired power at night and winter. Because during the day the solar mass power baseload nuclear power cannot run, and peak-shaving gas very uneconomic, pumped even run very uneconomical. Coal is the only technology without subsidies and have not been at a loss. Electric power enterprises will have to make choices, coal-fired power or cutback, or go bust.

Here I am about to many inter-related issues.

Question 1: in the wrong place, the wrong technology green revolution

Renewable energy advocates have always thought that Germany is a large rooftop PV feasible success story. But the problem is that Germany’s PV policy was a failure. Germany’s sunny weather is relatively small, Hanover, one-third time of the year is cloudy, not suitable for installing solar panels.

Annual solar radiation

The Alps blocked the sunlight in the morning. Germany’s solar resources with United States Alaska, even more so than Seattle more poor.

Considering Germany’s weather, solar power is the worst choice.

Solar radiation map

Many people believe that if Germany make large investments in solar energy, United States should also install a lot of solar panels. I think it should be the other way around thinking, even if equipped with generous subsidies, best solar resources in the world, United States solar still going so slowly, then Germany’s solar energy utilization should be less. Because Germany’s market has been seriously distorted, so they pursued such an ideal energy policy.

You are welcome to disagree with my point of view, that the simplest evidence is the capacity factor. Under the influence of sunshine hours, photovoltaic capacity factor is lower than 50%, and if you think about the cloud, dawn, dusk, and non-optimal installation, United States city average capacity factor is 18%. By contrast, Germany 2011 solar capacity factor is less than 9%.

Currently Germany residents install solar panels cost about $2.25/Watts, while the United States is $5/watts. But Germany year photovoltaic utilization hours less than the United States half of the United States and Germany’s solar power cost almost the same. California and Germany’s payback period is essentially the same. Many people complained that United States and high cost led to too little installed capacity, installed capacity but only economic reasons do not explain growth differences.

Why Germany’s per capita installed capacity is United States 16 times times? Because in Germany gets installed licenses more easily. I don’t think Germany people have more environmentally conscious than other people in the world. For cold, weak light, very little demand for air conditioning during the day Germany, solar energy technology is not suitable for. In the United States in Phoenix, Arizona, solar technology is suitable, but inappropriate in Frankfurt. So my conclusion is Germany solar energy development is the influence of political distortion. Economics of solar energy development has not been properly demonstrated, in the absence of a large number of political interference in the case it is not possible to continue.

Many people surprised by Germany’s solar power generation accounted for 4.6% of the total generating capacity, accounting for 2% of the total energy supply. Because all the headlines covering summer peak solar power accounted for 50%. So PV solar power is an inefficient way of massive power. For the same cost, people can take advantage of the latest technology to produce at least four times times the power, and the same zero carbon emissions. For many reasons, nuclear energy is a better choice.

The next five years, with the gradual cut in subsidization of new photovoltaic units, solar growth trends will begin to reverse. Installed capacity growth has peaked, and is beginning to decline. Although components and installation costs are reduced, when subsidies ceased most new projects will also be stopped. PV has entered a downward spiral.

All the development curve when PV PV supporters draw, draw only until 2011. Rapid development last year because 2011 is a PV. According to official data from 2013 and forecast data, PV curve is no longer a rapid growth curve. And like all other technologies, it became the s-curve, after all, not infinitely fast-growing technology in the world.

Should be noted that installed capacity and actual power output curve is different. Green media report only PV installed capacity or proportion of sunny weather in the summer generation. Both of these values need to be objective by 10 for the year.

In fact, although solar energy received more government support, but it grew more slowly relative to the conventional energy. This image displays the total energy supply of each type of energy technologies to achieve after 1% the first decade of development. (Note: ordinate each proportion of energy technologies for energy to total energy supply, three technologies starting from 1%; y is the year after you reach 1%, from the first to the tenth year, natural gas year is starting in 1965, the beginning years of nuclear power in 1974, start of the solar year is 2001)

Only one-fourth of renewable energy is solar (mainly biomass, wind and waste incineration). Growth in solar true rose at 1974-1984 nuclear so 2001-2011 one-fourth only one-sixth 1965-1975 natural gas rate.

When a new energy technologies are better than the old ones, and its rapid development. But solar energy is not done, even if it has received significant government support.

All of which means that without government support, grid-connected PV may not be the primary source of power. At present Germany to tax other energy technologies in order to lavish subsidies on solar power, solar has the economy. Electric power enterprises forced prices at several times the market price of buying electricity from distributed photovoltaic power users, it generated a great deal of loss. Germany could act only in August 2013 to the grid of renewable energy companies has caused direct economic losses of 540 million euros. (Translator’s Note: here is the grid losses on lack of renewable energy surcharges, according to Germany the renewable energy policy, will next year by raising the renewable surcharges to offset grid losses. ) This is a huge transfer of wealth. From the power company (operation management and the traditional power grid losses) and the all people’s pockets without installing rooftop photovoltaic transfer of wealth to own or install solar panels in people’s pockets. So it’s not just a huge market distortions, it is a tax on the poor.

Intention is good but bad designed a Government transfer mechanism, namely transfer of wealth from people without solar panels to someone with a solar panel. South of this was tantamount to no roofs, or no initial investment, or rental housing tax. Faced with rapidly rising energy prices and almost ignored the efforts of the Government, welfare applicants, and the elderly have been badly shaken. Even poor people have to live in darkness, to save on electricity bills. Energy transition is bad for social justice.

Question 2: PV Powered volatility

Brought about by the rapid growth of solar energy is the most ironic problem: excess supply. It is unthinkable that, of course, because solar-electricity total electricity production is lower than 5%, but are responsible for excess capacity. Sunny afternoons in the summer, compared to generation cost, Germany PV is actually losing money: the average export price for Euro 2012 Euro 0.056/kWh, [18] but 2000-2011 average cost per kilowatt of installed capacity of photovoltaic power generation for 0.165 EUR/kWh. [14] (the best condition is, PV modules have a capacity factor of 40-year service life and 10%, about 0.2 EUR/kWh) on a sunny summer day, thermal power generation companies have to operate at a high cost to maintain the boiler and thus be compensated.

You can say that the solar power is free, but reduced by solar power or shutting down coal-fired power plants is costly. This means large-scale photovoltaic integration allows additional power unit power generation costs even higher. Excess solar electric power economy has a lot of pull (translator’s Note: the irony of the author). Because you only pay for a power supply, but now need to pay twice – once in cloudy weather peak of conventional energy generation, once at the peak of sunny days solar power–and then export the surplus power and make a modest profit.

Why Germany to export electricity at a loss? Since the renewable energy law does not allow power up light. Users were forced to pay for photovoltaic power generation grid above-market prices, at the same time, neighboring countries enjoy low electricity prices throughout the EU, have no incentive to build more clean energy. This is indeed a waste of distorted energy policies.

Electricity production and consumption must be simultaneous. Large scale energy storage technology is not mature, and high cost. Pumped a lot of small, but Europe and the United States for such storage sites have been used up. The only large-scale energy storage plan is the use of electric vehicles. But to meet the massive solar fluctuations, current electric car is far from enough. If people charged during after hours, the Sun had set, and power supply and demand at this time does not match the situation would be even worse. California’s grid operator, said recently the sunset is a barrier to development of photovoltaic. Most typical expression is “Duck” (a duck-shaped curve). Graphic shows late afternoon, photovoltaic power output dropped sharply, requiring traditional power supplies with a wide ramp rate load. (Translator’s Note: “Duck” from the United States report of the California power grid Corporation FlexibilityResourceAdequacyCriteriaandMust-OfferObligation,Dec132012. Diagram representation of curves from top to bottom in California from 2012 to 2020 of the yearly NET load, California’s power grid predicted 2015 renewable energy generation has increased significantly. NET load = load-wind power-photovoltaic power)

People are always complaining about wind power is unreliable, but in much of the region when there is enough wind farms, grid level overall, wind power is smooth. But all the solar panels will power at the same time, meaning power at night during the day while excess. At least in a hot country, daytime air conditioning load is matched with the PV. But Germany did not use air conditioning, large-scale photovoltaic grid scheduling nightmare. Energy transformation, Germany power grid frequency/voltage failure increases the risk of the three.

Germany had to rely on power to dissolve the country’s solar power in neighbouring countries in order to maintain the balance of power. Night PV output drop rate rising faster than those of other power output rate, which means people may power outage after work or use electricity from neighbouring countries. Following is Germany’s solar power curve shows Germany net import and export electricity with solar fluctuations and changes. (Note: the net import and export power in the position closest to the abscissa)

If Germany neighbouring countries there are so many solar panels, all countries while excess or shortage of power and eventually cause the system to crash. EU power grids throughout the PV capacity is much smaller than Germany, and Spain now photovoltaic access levels.

PV supporters always said consumers need to change their behavior to match the PV for electricity, rather than match the PV electricity Act. This may work, by changing the energy hogs such as the consumption behaviour of electrolytic aluminum plant, about 20% ‘s load can be transferred. But modern humans have their own routine and difficult to change, massive load will be hard to shift. Impossible to require that people don’t cook or watch TV in the evening, or waiting three hours after sunset, and then turn on the light. Electricity load over the weekend and weekday load must be different.

In short, PV does not match load in time, which, to a large extent limited the percentage of grid connected PV. Germany access to solar maximum is approximately 4%. They are now looking for ways to further improve measures.

Question 3 wrong PV replacement energy

You can notice in the cost curve when PV at Daihatsu, wind down output. User side of PV relative wind power has the right to give priority to power generation in the region. Solar power fact first, instead of other renewable energy generation. Secondly is replaced by gas-fired power generation and nuclear power.

Note jagged gray on behalf of traditional energy sources (coal and gas) power generation, solar power partially replaced the daily base load power generation, seems to be replacing fossil energy, but in the long term, is thought to have the opposite effect. (Translator’s Note: according to Germany the Government commitment to 2020 Germany will shut down almost all nuclear power)

In general assume the base load coal and nuclear power, their large capacity, high efficiency, and low cost. But she has baseload generator output and the output reduction is very difficult, and the cost is very high. Nuclear power cannot be adjusted accordingly with the increase or decrease in output of photovoltaic speed. Take many days before shutting down or restarting a nuclear power plant, in addition to France other than nuclear power in other countries is not involved in cycling, so nuclear power output not possible with solar power generation fluctuates. Supply cannot match demand, eventually leading to supply shortages and excess occurred.

Many people assume that Germany as Fukushima is reducing the proportion of nuclear power, but Germany has no choice. They were forced to stop using nuclear power, and solar energy to replace, this is a very, very big problem–Germany’s nuclear-power generating capacity is four times times the solar power, so solar does not immediately make up the nuclear shortfall. Germany must develop other power supply to cover nuclear power.

General peak through the gas generator. But Germany less gas resources and gas peak shaving costs are high, so Germany building more coal-fired power plants and reopening of old coal-fired power plants. Coal-fired electricity is expensive and inefficient, but can run all night and when we need to reduce output reduction. Coal than nuclear power has a very good track load capacity. Germany’s Green Party since the 70 ‘s in opposition to nuclear power, and eventually won. Nuclear power is gone, coal came again.

Replacing nuclear power with coal for environmental protection must be a wrong decision. Nuclear power is cleaner than coal-fired electricity security beyond question. Fukushima nuclear accidents can be considered the most serious nuclear accident – a powerful earthquake and the tsunami of unprecedented seven reactor core melted, three stations – but none of the casualties caused by radiation, the life expectancy rate is almost zero. Even staggering of nuclear disaster is almost harmless to the public. Research indicates that fear of withdrawal have died than stay where they had a higher proportion of deaths from radiation.

By comparison, coal around to kill 1 million people each year, which makes the Ocean was full of mercury and arsenic, release more carbon dioxide, is also the most important causes of damage to the environment in the process of industrialization.

When PV 1–2 per cent of total energy demand, will mean less nuclear power, thermal power increase. Resulting environmental damage may well past PV brings environmental benefits. Countries need to avoid building large amounts of photovoltaic, so as not to reduce the use of other clean energy sources. When the PV has developed to “Duck” stage, things started to go bad. Final results might as well start doing nothing, just as Germany has in the development of photovoltaic dilemma.

So the whole thing was a failure. Germany PV is harming people and the Earth, and will be exacerbated.

Question 4: biomass energy

Biomass power generation in the above figure, are actually burning wood in a coal-fired power plants. Germany 38% “renewable” comes from deforestation and imported wood from other countries. We seem to go back to the middle ages. Due to the aggressive renewable energy targets, as well as the European Union believe that wood is a carbon-neutral carbon tax (translator’s Note: the lifecycle of trees, which absorb carbon dioxide and offset carbon dioxide emissions from burning), Europe is growing at a rate of deforestation and wood as renewable energy combustion.

Environmental campaign took almost 200 years to combat forest degradation in the process of industrialization, but that goal moments was defeated by the hypocrisy of a formula for the calculation of carbon dioxide emissions. Formula taking into account is the trees throughout the growing cycle, absorption and emission of carbon dioxide is not at the same time, absorb emissions. Which unfortunately is now burning wood trees to absorb carbon dioxide, but also emissions of carbon dioxide, actually burning wood does more harm to the environment than coal. Coming decades is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, key to tackling climate change during clear felling of trees would be foolish.

Germany had to destroy the environment in order to meet renewable energy goals. They have made renewable energy is not sustainable. Is truly a tragedy!

Summary: Germany energy restructuring is a very undesirable way, aggressive goals to error power energy hurts the people, business and the environment.

I’m not saying we should oppose the PV, one should be our photovoltaic power. Due to unfavorable climate and distortions of policy, Germany at lower PV penetration, is facing many problems, while other countries may have to face a very high penetration rate. Even if we ignore the cost in power system operation and management aspects, PV-there are still many problems that must be resolved. Such as:

Not to build too much solar power station, because the other ramp rate of the power supply can’t keep up with the rate of change of PV. Works only for large-scale photovoltaic energy storage technology is still a very immature technology, does not know when to commercialization. To reach 50% PV penetration rate is an illusion, we need to be more realistic about this issue.

You can’t force people to buy simply because he is a renewable energy does not need. Manufacturing PV is also a waste of energy and material is not solid green.

We must learn from these lessons, cannot close our eyes to fail. ‘S consistent support to renewable energy Germany has become the world leader in renewable energy development, they redefined the environmental movement. But Germany’s progress against all expectations, opponents and gave evidence. We must stop praised Germany for energy transition model, and should explore better utilization of renewable road.



(The writer is a Chevron oil company subsea drilling engineer. Graduated from the Missouri-Colombia University, majoring in chemical engineering. )

Original title: debating Germany PV: misfortune fortune depends on?

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