Smog-Free Skies Allow Germany To Break Records For Solar Power
‘The power of the sun, in the palm of my hand.’ Amid smog-free skies, Germany’s solar power market is soaring.
One of the recurring trends of the global outbreak is lower air pollution. With more people than ever staying at home and with businesses put on hold, the skies are less susceptible to the fumes of everyday living, whether it be the plumes of exhaust pipe smoke or factory chimneys.
Germany is one such country reaping the bittersweet rewards of clearer skies, with its solar panels producing record levels of electricity.
The output of the panels were already on the up. After setting a new record on March 23, photovoltaic plants managed to record a whopping 32,227 megawatts on Monday, April 20, accounting for 40% of the day’s electricity compared to coal and nuclear plants’ 22%. In total, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind produced 78% of the country’s output.
With great weather over central Europe expected to continue over the next week, as per the country’s DWD federal weather service, these numbers could increase even further.
Andreas Friedrich, a spokesman for the DWD, told Bloomberg: ‘There is hardly a cloud over Germany. And a high-pressure system over Scandinavia will keep these conditions in place until at least Friday.’
A freshly broken record is unsurprising. Jenny Chase, a BloombergNEF analyst, explained: ‘Every year there’s more installed solar, so the record gets broken nearly every spring.’ However, with unprecedented acceleration of energy intake via solar panels versus lower electricity demand, the tide is certainly turning.
It’s great news for renewable energy, but Germany’s struggling, fossil fuel-spouting coal plants will be sweating. The government estimates green power will account for 80% of the country’s electricity share by 2038 – an absolutely seismic leap from its 40% in 2019.
The country already has plans in place to wind down its reliance on fossil fuels (a key move in the fight against climate change), with coal plant operators RWE AG and LEAG pledging to wind them down in the lead-up to 2038. Carlos Perez Linkenheil, a senior analyst at Berlin-based Energy Brainpool, said: ‘You have coal looking very much like the energy market’s loser.’
Smog is dissipating all across the world. Earlier in March, NASA recorded a 30% drop in nitrogen oxide across the US’ north-east – covering New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, D.C. – compared to the same time last year. This is echoed in other major cities, with pollution levels halving in London, Rome and Milan.
It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.