German & U.S. Perspectives In Solar Power Trends

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Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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I came across this very informative clip of about an hour by Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Heinrich Boll Foundation.  It took place during a Congressional briefing (March 12, 2012) which discussed the energy transition that occurred in Germany and how that compares, specifically with regard to the solar sector, to the United States.  During this past decade, there had been tremendous growth and advances in opportunities,  manufacturing efficiency, and deployment of this abundant renewable/solar resource from both sides of the Atlantic.

If you do not have an hour to view this clip, please allow me to make the summary of this talk available to you, via http://www.eesi.org/solar-power-trends-german-and-us-perspectives-12-mar-2012 :  Over the last ten years, Germany has increased the share of electricity from renewable sources from five to over 20 percent, while creating more than 380,000 new jobs in this sector. Not-so-sunny Germany is known as a world leader in deploying solar power. In 2011 alone, more than 7,500 MW of photovoltaics (PV) were installed in Germany, as compared to 855 MW in U.S. installations during the same time period, which set a record U.S. pace. Investments in Germany as well as the United States have spurred manufacturing and job growth. Government policy has been a determining factor in both countries. The speakers addressed these topics as well as issues faced in building a future grid that is flexible, smart, and strong enough for a renewable energy economy.

Speakers for this event included:

  • Volker Quaschning, PhD, Professor for Renewable Energy, University of Applied Sciences in Berlin (HTW Berlin)
  • Kathy Weiss, Vice President, Government Relations, First Solar

Due to high cost of nuclear clean-up (4 billion Euro that will have to be paid by the tax payers), a near-Fukushima event in Germany, Fukushima incident, and wish of 90% of the German people, Germany currently has the goal of being completely weaned from the use of nuclear energy by 2022 and be able to achieve the use of 80% of power use from renewable sources by 2050.  (Germany will be holding election next year. Its different political parties may have variation in its individual goals: Democratic Party aims for 75% in renewables by 2030 while Green party is aiming for 100% renewables by 2030).

There are several important points one may take away from this talk: Firstly, we cannot possibly discuss solar trends and government incentive policy without mentioning the Feed-In-Tariff (rather, effective Feed-In-Tariff). To help increase our understanding of effective Feed-In-Tariff, I would like to share various previous posts made available at http://sunisthefuture.net:  April 17, 2012 post.  There are also various video clips explaining Feed-In-Tariff from various parts of the world at sunisthefuture Youtube Channel.  Effectively implemented Feed-In-Tariff had been responsible for Germany’s current position as the world leader in renewable energy, tremendous job creations, and economic growth.  Secondly/lastly, this year, 2012, we have reached grid parity. Grid parity is the point at which means of generating electricity from solar energy  produces power at a levelized cost that is equal to or less than the price of purchasing power from the grid. (wikipedia) Reaching grid parity is considered to be an important point in the development of new sources of power, the point at which it becomes a contender for widespread development without subsidy support.  At this critical juncture, our German presenter Dr. Volker Quaschning made an important point  during the 0:57:00-1:05:00th  minutes of the presentation: if U.S. still does not do much to encourage U.S. solar market, the Chinese will soon be able to grow from the current 50% of the market share to 90-100% of the market share for solar technology (approximately 100-200 billion Euros per year). If U.S. still does not consider utilizing effective Feed-In-Tariff to encourage U.S. solar market now, we will soon be left behind in the dust, forever trailing other developed nations.  I hope you will find the time, if not the whole video clip,  to view at least parts of this video clip, below:


This past year, I’ve been spending a lot of my own time, energy, and effort in spreading the understanding of solar energy and effective Feed-In-Tariff.  One frequent comment that I have heard, “Why should we follow the Germans?”  There are two perspectives from which we may answer this question: it is for both ethical reason and selfish reason.  It is our moral imperative to take part in transitioning into the renewable energy age (for a cleaner and safer environment/planet Earth).  We simply have no choice, for fossil fuel is a finite resource.  It is for our own economic benefit in terms of future job creations and economic growth that we should nurture the renewable and solar energy industry here in U.S.  I understand that U.S. is a vast and diverse country, both its strength and weakness in terms of its ability in being able to change.   It is time for us to put aside our differences and combine effort in asking our legislators and former Presidents to help President Obama in implementing the effective Feed-In-Tariff for Renewable Energy.  Please visit http://sunisthefuture.net and sunisthefuture Youtube Channel  http://www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture?feature=results_main for more on solar energy and Feed-In-Tariff for renewable energy and join us (Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva) at http://www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture to help entrepreneurs in U.S. and developing nations to establish/maintain  businesses/projects in renewable energy/solar energy/recycling/energy efficiency via microfinance.  For regardless who you are, if you are joining the Sunisthefuture Team at Kiva for the first time, you will be given free $25 to help another entrepreneur of your choosing in U.S. or a developing nation. This $25 will eventually be returned to help another entrepreneur (of your choosing).  There is a time limit on these initial free $25 trials, so please act fast to get your free $25 trial. More details on this may be explained at http://www.kiva.org.

 

~have a bright and sunny day~

written & posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker, sunisthefuture@gmail.com
Homepage: http://www.sunisthefuture.net


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