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Reuters | U.S. Utilities Face German-style Solar Burn


Building with solar panels in Northern Germany (Tvabutzku1234, via Wikimedia Commons)

“America’s utilities face a German-style solar burn. So far, solar power accounts for just 1 percent of U.S. electricity demand, against 10 percent in Germany. But generators stateside are already feeling the heat and pushing for levies on solar panels. They’re keen to avoid the scorched profit seen at traditional Teutonic utilities like E.ON.

“Germany’s enthusiasm for solar energy has set it apart. After years of generous subsidies, by the end of 2012 it boasted around 30 gigawatts of photovoltaic generation capacity – a third of the total in the world, according to the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century. That is about four times more than the United States – or 16 times as much per head of population.

‘That may have delighted environmentally conscious electricity users. But it has been painful for German utilities. Millions of customers who have installed rooftop solar panels now need to buy less electricity from E.ON or RWE. These former captive customers have also now become competitors of sorts, selling surplus power back to the grid.”

Read the entire article at Analysis & Opinion | Reuters.

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