The other week we had a small group leaders meal at our house and the weather was actually good enough to sit outside. Conversation turned to our Solar PV panels that were in view. I mentioned that on the 28th May Germany managed to provide almost half its power from the sun. One of the things people wanted to talk about was what happens when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun shining, how do we manage for electricity then?
I talked about Smart meters, the need for conservation and different renewables balancing each other out, for example using HV DC on a continental scale. No one seemed entirely satisfied with my explanations. However, a few days later I found this.
Being a follower has its advantages sometimes. Germany is so far ahead with its solar PV and use of wind that people are pouring over its data. The above link is one look at the output data. It shows over different time periods from hours to months the two renewable technologies are balancing each other out. So as you would expect in winter there is very little solar contribution and the opposite in summer, but the overall contribution from both stays remarkably constant over both long and short time periods.
Other people are starting to look at costs. As in other countries there are claims that FIT’s raise domestic bills. Surprisingly a lot of German industry is exempted from paying the FIT. But it seems PV may act to reduce prices, at least in some ways. In any case the latest FIT’s have been cut to below average German domestic power prices and the FIT will be removed completely when they reach 52GW of installed capacity. This will be 2016 at current rates of installation.
I could have added to the small group leaders really all the above is the easy bit of peak oil. Transport, food and chemicals are much more difficult.