Germany is making major strides in establishing itself as a leader in alternative energy. This week, the German government released information concerning its solar energy projects of 2011. The information indicates that the country has set a record for solar capacity installed in one month. According to the government, more than 3 gigawatts worth of solar energy systems were installed throughout the country in December of 2011. These new energy systems pushed Germany up to 7,482 megawatts of solar capacity for the entire year.
The recent boost in German solar energy was spurred by the Japanese earthquake disaster that caused a nuclear crisis in the Far East near the beginning of 2011. The disaster called into question the safety of nuclear energy. The German government took the issue to heart and has been aggressively closing nuclear power plants throughout the country. Cutting back on nuclear power would have caused a serious energy vacuum in Germany if the gap had not been filled by alternatives like solar and hydrogen.
Much of Germany’s solar energy is used to provide power to residences. The growth seen in December 2011 was so great due to government incentives. These incentives have recently been repealed by the federal government, making it more difficult for consumers to adopt solar energy. How the disappearance of these incentives will affect the solar energy industry in the coming months has yet to be seen, though the growth of the energy is expected to slow significantly.