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March 27, 2012

Solar Energy in Germany

12 years have passed since the German parliament adopted the "Renewable Energy Sources Act" on the 29th March of 2000 . This law was primarily developed by Hermann Scheer who developed the underlying concepts during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Up until his death in 2010, Dr. Scheer was one of the most significant and uncompromising proponents of renewable energy sources in Germany and around the world.

The law that gave priority to renewable energy sources, guaranteed access to the grid for renewables and included a comprehensive feed-in-tarrif system became known as "Scheers-Law" around the world. Today it has been introduced to some extent by over 60 countries and states around the globe.

Since this historic push for a 100% renewable energy supply began, there have been countless developements & success stories in the field of clean energy & energy efficency around the world.

But the most important success of "Scheers-Law" is without doubt the commercialization of photovoltaic technology. In the middle of the last decade many companies around the world started to massivly expand their production capacity for silicon & other materials required to make PV-solar systems. This solar gold rush that lead to investments around the globe was mainly driven by demand in Germany up untill recently. The first effects of this developement?
Since 2009 the prices for PV-solar systems have fallen by up to 70% and continue to decline.

Today industry experts claim that photovoltaic & multi-kWh energy storage will become the cheapest source of electricy even in OECD countries within the next 10 years.
This will lead to a very fast structural change of the entire world economy. Huge parts of the fossil energy market will disappear and people around the world become energy independent. The energy corporations that dominate the fuel market, will loose significant parts of their revenue.. perhaps they will even get marginalized by this developement.

This developement has just started, but with 24.5 GW of PV-Solar capacity installed on more than 1 million roofs in Germany, the first signs of this new industrial revolution can already be observed.
For example even during the dark & windy winter month of January, PV-solar produced up to 7 GW or 10% of peak-load demand in Germany.
When a deadly cold wave brought the fossil & nuclear dominated energy system of France close to collapse, german PV-solar kept many gas & oil fired powerplants offline, which significantly lowered the spot-prices at the European Energy Exchange.

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