While the world scrambles to integrate sustainable, green energy into infrastructure, Germany has quietly made huge gains in adding solar energy as a priority with massive installations of solar panels in 2012.
A new solar energy high
The Germans are serious about solar power and sustainable energy. In the last year alone they installed a record number of solar panels to produce green energy. The overall production capacity grew to more than 7.6 GW (gigawatts), up from 7.5 GW in the year 2011. German has a capacity for 7.4 GW in 2010. The city of Berlin needs up to 3.5 GW, leaving more power to spare.
Growth was steady throughout 2012, but installations did fall in the final quarter of the year. Generous contributions and breaks, known as feed-in tariffs, have been promised to generators for a twenty year time period, making the boom possible. Germany is working towards carbon-free forms of power like solar energy to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
Solar power struggles
Some suggest that the strong move towards solar energy and other green energy sources is putting a heavy burden on consumers as the shift from nuclear to cleaner and safer energy continues. It is thought that the shift is adding to consumer cost and will have a small negative effect on economical growth for Germany. As a result, the government leveled off some of the feed-in tariffs to slow down the rate of solar energy installations.
Elsewhere in Europe
The European Nation is also in the race to use more solar energy and to develop fuel alternatives like biofuels and hydrogen-based power. They are heavily invested in using these as a way to push for alternative energy systems throughout the EN member countries. Some governments are stalling citing high costs, but as prices for producing cleaner and safer forms of energy come down, more countries are getting excited about the possibilities.
A climate change summit due in Doha, Qatar has pushed the European Parliament to introduce new aspirations before the summit can commence. There is already some support within Parliament for new limits on emissions and France, Germany, and the UK are all on board. Counties with huge economic struggles like Portugal, Spain, and Greece are also paying attention, as they feel the changes to alternative sources like solar energy can aid in turning around their economic woes.