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Twilight of the grids

The impact of distributed solar on Germany's energy transition
: Stetz, T.; Appen, J. von; Niedermeyer, F.; Scheibner, G.; Sikora, R.; Braun, M.


IEEE power & energy magazine 13 (2015), No.2, pp.50-61
ISSN: 1540-7977
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IWES ()

After booming from 2009 to 2012, the German photovoltaic (PV) industry suffered from drastically reduced feed-in tariffs (FITs). With around 3 GWp of newly installed nominal PV capacity in 2013 and a predicted drop to around 2 GWp of additional nominal capacity in 2014 (there had only been 1.03 GWp added by July), the growth of the German PV market has reached 2008 levels. But with more than 1.5 million PV plants and a total of approximately 38 GWp of nominal capacity, Germany is still the country with the largest amount of installed PV capacity in the world. The political aim is to reach 52 GWp by 2020. In 2013, PV systems provided 6.5% of nationwide electricity consumption (RES in total 24%) and covers regularly with up to 20-23 GW on sunny summer days around one-third of the noon peak of around 50-75 GW. As of today, PV systems are already the major source of electricity in Germany when installed capacity is viewed broken down by specific electricity source. In this article, we provide a system-level overview of the current “hot” topics regarding PV grid integration in Germany and discuss various upcoming R&D challenges for future high-PV-penetration scenarios.