30.07.2013
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Photovoltaics

Utility-scale solar small in Germany

According to statistics published at Wiki-Solar, the country that leads the world in installed photovoltaic capacity by a wide margin is only just barely in second place in terms of systems larger than 10 megawatts -- and will fall behind even further.

If the statistics published at Wiki-Solar can be trusted, less than 10 percent of the German PV market consists of utility-scale plants larger than 10 megawatts as of the end of June 2013. While the country has roughly 34 gigawatts installed, only 2.9 of that consisted of individual plants of that size.

In contrast, the US was in third place with 2.895 gigawatts (only a rounding error behind Germany's 2.896) though the country has only now passed the 10 gigawatt threshold (that figure seems to be just for photovoltaics, not CSP). Interestingly, nearly half of that utility-scale capacity in the US has been installed "since December 2012" (one wonders whether that designation actually means since January 1).

The statistics are further evidence that the German PV market has a relatively large share of small, distributed systems in an international comparison. One reason is strong community and citizen ownership in the country. Indeed, even systems with hundreds or thousands of kilowatts (such as a recent 7.8 MW project) are often owned by communities and citizen investors, not utilities. The label "utility-scale" is therefore probably misleading in Germany to begin with.

As of the fall of 2012, systems larger than 10 megawatts are no longer eligible for feed-in tariffs in Germany, which may also help explain the statistics since December 2012. While China had installed 40 such systems, India, 30, and the United States 20 during that time, only two such systems were installed in Germany. We can therefore expect Germany to fall even further behind in terms of utility-scale PV while distributed systems roar on. (Craig Morris)

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1 Comment on "Utility-scale solar small in Germany "

  1. heinbloed - 02.08.2013, 13:00 Uhr (Report comment)

    The so far last 'utility scale' PV-powerplant is officially inaugurated today, 128 MWp on the (former) largest Soviet airforce camp in Central Europe:
    http://www.solarserver.de/solar-magazin/nachrichten/aktuelles/2013/kw31/belectric-weiht-groesstes-freiflaechen-solarkraftwerk-mit-duennschichtmodulen-in-brandenburg-ein-ralf-christoffers-und-juergen-trittin-eroeffnen-die-feier.html

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