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German Solar Policies

Germany is a world leader in its development of renewable energies. With the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) series of laws since 2000, the energy transition has taken real steps towards the ultimate goal of a sustainable economy, free from the dependence on fossil fuels or nuclear power.

Theoretically, an autonomous complete supply of Germany with renewable energies (R.E.) from domestic sources is possible. Most scenarios foresee an integrated system, In which the security of supply is ensured through export / import with neighboring countries. A key factor for this is the problem of the necessary storage requirements.

A report by the German Council of Economic Experts (Olav Hohmeyer, chief author of the expert report) concluded in 2010 that Germany would be able to completely cover its electricity supply from renewable energies in 2050. There are a number of scenarios, most of which involve exchanges with neighboring countries, to increase the balancing out of the power supply and demand. e.g. periods of low wind in Germany can be compensated by stored hydropower from Norway.


Wind in 2004 had a total output of 48 GW. At the beginning of 2014 it was 318 GW. Anfangs 2014 war es 318 GW.

Potential: ca. 2400 TWh/a (in 2015 Germany consumed 635 TWh). According to the Atlas of RE Potential released by the German Agency for Renewable Energies in January 2010, land-based wind energy could cover one fifth of German electricity demand by 2020. This would require needs about 0.75% of the country's land area.


Solar thermal power plants in 2004 had a total output in the electricity sector of 0.4 GW. At the beginning of 2014 it was 3.4 GW. Solar thermal energy in 2004 has a total output in the hot water sector of 98 GW. At the beginning of 2014 it was 326 GW.

Only 2.5% of the suitable building surface areas is being used for solar electricity or heat by the end of 2016.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE, Freiburg, Breisgau, BW) concluded that the supply of all German electricity and heat would be technically feasible through renewable energies only by 2050, and this transition would not have an unacceptable financial impact. The ISE (Institute of Solar Energy) holds the world record with TopCon technology, with an efficiency of 25.1% for the silicon-solar cells contacted on both sides. And for epitaxially grown silicon solar cells, a short-circuit current of 39.6 mA / cm3 is achievable. (Frauenhofer ISE Annual Report)


Geothermal power plants in 2004 had a total output of 8.9 GW. At the beginning of 2014 it was 12 GW.


Hydropower in 2004 had a total output of 715 GW. At the beginning of 2014 it was 1,000 GW (1 TW).


Bioenergy in 2004 had a total output in the electricity sector of <36 GW (227 TWh). At the beginning of 2014 it was 88 GW (405 TWh).

Ethanol production 2004: 28.5 bn litres. 2014: 87.2 bn litres.

Biodiesel production 2004: 2.4 bn litres. 2014: 26.3 bn litres.

According to the Potential Atlas issued by the Renewable Energy Agency in January 2010, bioenergy can cover 15% of the total electricity, heat and fuel supply by 2020, requiring a cultivation area of 3.7 million hectares (today: 1.6 million hectares).


The Fauenhofer ISE, Freiberg in Breisgau, opened a new center for storage and heat transformation technologies in 2015. Topics: Battery system for photovoltaics and mobility, redox-flow batteries, hydrogen generation by electrolysis, high-temperature storage for solar thermal energy and heat pumps and refrigeration units for power, gas or heat applications.


According to the ISE study, to reach the target of 100% R.E. would involve the energy used for the heating of buildings to be reduced to around 50 percent of the value from 2010, by means of energetic building renovation.


In 2008, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Construction and Nuclear Safety (BMU) released a study predicting that renewable energies in Germany will reach a share of 30% of the electricity supply by 2020. This target was already exceeded in 2015.

With the 2011 nuclear phase-out decision, the foreseen portion could be increased. According to the 2014 decision of the Federal Government, the green electricity share is to be increased to 40-45% by 2020 and 55 to 60% by 2035.

Investment: 2004: 39.5 bn $US. 2014: 214.4 bn dollar US.

Countries with RE support mechanisms: 2004 = 48. 2014 = 144.

[Source of above data: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erneuerbare_Energien]