- A Fraunhofer ISE report commissioned by Greenpeace believes solar PV potential of Germany under a climate neutral and 100% renewables stage to reach up to 446 GW
- Beyond large scale solar plants for which land availability can be an issue, the report recommends looking at integrating PV with various other avenues
- Exploiting all available potential of solar PV technology in Germany points towards a technical potential of over 3,000 GW, as per the report
- Politics and bureaucratic hurdles are the only impediments for Germany to achieve solar boom
Solar PV, wind, biomass and hydro power technologies together accounted for 45% of gross electricity consumption in Germany in 2020, with fossil fuel and nuclear power making up the rest. However, if Germany wants to be powered by 100% renewables, it needs to install 6 to 8 times more solar PV capacity than today, according to a Fraunhofer ISE report.
Commissioned by Greenpeace, the report calculates total solar PV capacity needed for Germany to reach the 100% renewables target as between 303 GW and 446 GW, growing from 54 GW cumulative capacity at the end of 2020. In the interim, it should reach between 148 GW to 194 GW by 2030. For this to happen, the authors recommend increasing the annual PV deployment target to an average of at least 12 GW to 20 GW annually till 2040. Notably, the Greens political party has proposed to ensure 12 GW annual solar addition from 2022 if it is voted to power in the national elections this fall (see Germany’s Greens Party Wants 12 GW Solar Annually).
The report also recommends increasing solar thermal energy to be used for hot water at home and heating requirements, to grow to a total of around 45 GW to 49 GW, up from 15 GW installed till 2020.
In order to meet the recommended capacity of solar PV in Germany, the authors of the report focus on integrated PV, meaning in the form of agrivoltaics, floating PV, integrated within vehicles, building retrofits, carports and the like which opens up a huge potential for solar power generation. All of these together offer a technical potential of over 3,000 GW of solar power capacity in the country, as per the report.
To meet this potential, the Greenpeace report stresses on vertically integrated PV production within Europe which will create around 750 jobs for every GW of PV module production capacity, and another 3,500 jobs per GW through installation of power plants.
Fraunhofer ISE sees current production costs for large scale solar power plants having come down by 80% to 90% in Germany since the introduction of Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) and now range between €0.03 per cent to €0.055 per kWh and for rooftop systems of up to 30 kW, the price ranges between €0.06 and €0.011 per kWh.
For the analysts of the report, a German solar boom can begin as soon as possible but it is only being slowed down by politics and bureaucratic hurdles.
The report in German language titled Solaroffensive für Deutschland is available on Greenpeace’ website for free.