2012 – The Solar Power Year in Review

In 2012, the photovoltaic cells on our roof generated 14345 kilowatt hours of energy, which earned us more than 7000 Euros and also saved more than 11000 kilograms of CO2. That’s ten kilowatt hours more than in 2011.

After more than six years, the solar power yield becomes somewhat predictable. We usually get between 14000 and 15000 kilowatt hours per year. In a very good, i.e. sunny year, the energy yield can exceed 15000 kilowatt hours. Whether the year is a good one or not mainly depends on whether the summer is sunny or not. A sunny spring or fall cannot really make up for a rainy summer.

Meanwhile, solar power is booming in Germany. In 2012, new solar power systems generating a total power of 7650 megawatts have been installed in Germany. This is the equivalent output of approx. five nuclear power stations.

Unfortunately, the lion’s share of those new solar panels were imported from China, so domestic manufacturers of solar panels did not profit from the solar power boom as much as they would otherwise have. Plus, the installation of new solar power systems will likely slow down in 2013, because the German government has slashed the guaranteed feed-in tariffs in its infinite wisdom.

There are currently many concerns that the switch to renewable energy will increase the already high energy prices even further. Never mind that nuclear power was only “cheap”, because it was highly subsidized by the German government in the 1970s and 1980s and many of the costs for security and nuclear waste disposal are born by the taxpayer rather than by the energy companies.

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