In the international solar race, it looks like Germany might be winning. The European nation generated a stunning 5.1 tWh in July, breaking all previously-set records. Oh, and that last record? Also set by Germany. So yeah, it’s safe to say that Germany is taking solar power very, very seriously, along with other forms of alternative energy like wind (the nation set another record in January by generating 5 tWh of wind power). Good on you, Germany!
Why is this so remarkable?
Well, for one thing, it shows that Germany has seriously invested in solar infrastructure. It’s being widely adopted across the country and it has a very high per-capita penetration across the nation. In fact, Germany has the highest per-capita capacity worldwide, and it is continually growing that capacity, clearly on a mission to keep upping its renewable energy use.
Like other members of the European Union, Germany is very committed to getting away from the use of fossil fuels and into alternative energy, and the government is putting its money where its mouth is. This isn’t just good for the planet. It’s also a sound move economically speaking, because it makes these nations less dependent on sources of fossil fuel, allowing them to generate their own energy independently. As we know, dependence on potentially unstable nations for fuel supplies can become a political nightmare.
The United States, which has long touted energy independence as a key goal for national security, is lagging seriously behind on alternative energy. It ranks number 20 worldwide in terms of solar energy per-capita, illustrating that this country needs to do a lot more work to adopt solar power. Even now, it remains prohibitively expensive for many individuals, and it’s seen as the focus of “green” design rather than something universal that everyone can adopt. A national plan should include not just the installation of individual home solar units, which is a great idea, but also the construction of larger solar arrays and government participation in solar energy programs.
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