Germany, land of schnitzel and beer, now produces half its energy using solar power plants.
On June 9th, German solar production peaked at a whopping 23.1GW, which is even more impressive given the fact that Germany is not a sunny country. In fact, 90% of the worlds population live in places that get more sunlight.
While this transition to solar energy has not been cheap, as there were €16 Billion in solar subsidies in 2013, it has led to decreasing the cost of solar panels by 80% over the last 5 years. While great for Germany, it also allows other countries to begin solar expansion without an overly prohibitive cost, as prices of panels continue to drop.
In fact, German solar power now competes with fossil fuels from a price standpoint, and the country continues to expand their solar power pants. Within the last year, solar production is up 34% due to a combination of better weather and increased instillation Though we can’t predict the weather, increasing the number of panels means that breaking the 50% solar power supply mark will likely happen again this year.
With all that said, it would only take 496, 905 square kilometers of solar panels to power the entire world. While that may seem like a lot, it’s only a bit larger than the state of California, which is quite small on a global scale. If you spread that space out across the world, in areas such as deserts that receive a lot of daily sun, you could easily power the planet in a non destructive manner. With the sun creating more energy in an hour than humans use in a year, we just need to capture and harness that light into usable clean energy.
Hopefully as prices continue to drop, more countries begin the shift to solar energy.