Germany is not exactly a sunny country, but despite limited solar expansion possibilities, the government gave its solar power industry a kickstart with their “Renewable Energy Act” in 2000. German companies rallied behind the Act and quickly soared to global leadership in the renewable energy market. However, in 2012 Germany saw a slump and the eventual collapse of post-2012, pushing many out of business. It has been a turbulent journey ever since, with a recent resurgence partly due to their cutting-edge technology and research capabilities. Many industry players were unfazed after the slump of 2012. New competitors enter the market with confidence every year, giving Germany one of the highest solar power outputs globally. The country aims for complete solar power integration, and another boom is expected soon. It is likely that at the current rate, Germans can expand their solar output to 200 GWp by 2030. In 2020 the number of solar arrays installed in the country was 2 million, and solar power was 10% of the total power consumption. What makes these numbers particularly impressive is that Germany has one of the lowest sunshine hours. International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) places the country fourth globally with an installed capacity of 60 GW.
The German energy dynamics revolve around thousands of smaller operators rather than large-scale, centralized solar power providers. The small-scale solar power operation jointly accounts for 10% of Germany’s net power consumption, where the total share of renewable energy is 46%. According to targets committed by the German government, Germany wants to shift towards sustainable energy to meet its net-zero carbon emission targets by 2045 and become net negative after 2050. They are on the right track as Germany’s hard coal-fired power plants’ combined total output was less than solar power generated between March and August of 2021. According to the Fraunhofer ISE research institute, three landmark strides have been made in the year 2021 by Germany.
- In June 2021, electricity generated by solar power hit a record high with 7.99 TWh. in a single month.
- Solar power share was 23% of the net-total electricity consumption per week.
- 28% of net energy needs were being met with solar power daily
Technology is Germany’s strong suit, and recently German football club, “SC Freiburg, ” announced an ambitious solar-powered project, the “Europa-Park Stadium”. The under-construction rooftop of the stadium will feature a 2.4 MW solar array. A Swiss manufacturer, “Meyer Burger Technology”, will supply the heterojunction panels for the project. The final PV system will be the world’s second-largest stadium rooftop of its kind in the world. The project participants were decided through a tender process for commercial PV projects held by the German “Federal Network Agency”. Badenova Wärmeplus, the power and environmental partner of SC Freiburg, will expand the project further.
The project will consist of six thousand optimal solar panels spread across 15,000 m2. The project has attracted €2.3 million as development investments by “Badenova Wärmeplus”, and the project will operate over a span of twenty years. The stadium’s PV rooftop is a proud moment for the manufacturers and the sports club as it is a crucial step towards becoming climate neutral. Furthermore, the manufacturers are hopeful that the ideology behind the rooftop will seep into other industries and will not remain limited to initiatives taken by sports clubs.