Germany needs up to 446 GW of solar PV to achieve 100% renewables

Solar farm. Author: Juwi Renewable Energies Limited.

August 10 (Renewables Now) - Germany needs to significantly increase its solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity to between 303 GW and 446 GW in order to be able to meet 100% of its electricity needs with renewable energy, shows a study conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE on behalf of Greenpeace.

The installed solar PV capacity has to grow by a factor of six to eight from the level at the end of 2020 when it stood at 54 GW, and this corresponds to an average annual net expansion rate in the range of 12 GW to 20 GW by 2040.

This is far more than the renewable expansion goals agreed by the German government in April under which the solar PV capacities planned for auction in 2022 were raised to 6 GW from 1.9 GW.

Along with solar PV energy, Germany should give a substantial boost to solar thermal power and raise capacities in this area to between 45 GW and 49 GW from currently 15 GW in order to achieve carbon neutrality.

The forecast is based on estimates for a 2.0 or 2.5-fold increase in demand for electricity by 2045 when the energy transition in the country should be completed.

To achieve such a substantial increase in capacity expansion, the study sees great potential for the vertical integration of solar PV systems into building facades, traffic routes, sealed surfaces like parking areas, vehicle bodies or agricultural infrastructure. The potential for additional floating solar PV capacity in Germany is estimated at 44 GW, while agricultural infrastructure offers an area for the installation of a further 2,900 GW.

In 2020, about 45% of the gross electricity consumption in Germany was covered with renewables, including wind, solar PV, biomass and hydropower, while the rest came from fossil fuel and nuclear power plants.

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