Germany’s Latest Solar Power Record

  • Published on July 13th, 2013 by

Last Sunday, Germany solar power set a world solar record for electricity produced from solar PV systems. The country’s 1.3–1.4 million solar PV systems put out 23.9 GW of power just before 2:00pm, according to SMA Solar Technology’s live solar power tracking tool. Moments after the record was set, I snapped this screenshot of the solar website:

Germany solar power record
Screenshot of SMA Solar Technology live solar power output webpage.


As noted on the website Cost of Solar, “At the time of the record, solar power was contributing over 50% of Germany’s electricity needs. For Sunday as a whole, it contributed over 20% of the country’s electricity needs.”

The question a solar outsider might ask is, “How did Germany become such a solar leader?” As Cost of Solar adds, it’s certainly not because of the theory promoted on the disinformation news network Fox:

Unfortunately, there was a bit on Fox & Friends a few months ago that claimed Germany’s solar power leadership (compared to the US) was due to its better solar resources. Unfortunately, that’s as far from the truth as you can get. As you can see in the solar resources map below, Germany’s solar resources are comparable to Alaska’s (actually, even worse):

Germany solar power resources vs US solar power resources
Source: NREL

The key reason Germany is the world’s solar power leader is because it stimulated residential solar installations using a very simple and clear policy tool (solar power feed-in tariffs) that was actually first used by US President Jimmy Carter. This got residents to install solar power before it made financial sense for them to do so (even though it already made financial sense for society as a whole), which has led to major cost reductions in solar PV (just as planned). That has driven down the cost of solar in Germany as well as around the world.

For more on how much Germany is actually crushing the US on solar power development, check out the full Cost of Solar article.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.