Germany breaks record for solar power production as pandemic clears skies of smog

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Germany’s solar panels produced a record amount of electricity this week as skies have cleared over central Europe. 

Photovoltaic power plants produced 32,227 megawatts Monday, beating out the previous record on March 23, Germany’s DWD federal weather service confirmed, Bloomberg reported.  

“There is hardly a cloud over Germany,” Andreas Friedrich, a spokesman for the DWD, told the outlet. “And a high-pressure system over Scandinavia will keep these conditions in place until at least Friday.”

BloombergNEF analyst Jenny Chase said that every year there is “more installed solar, so the record gets broken nearly every spring.” However, she said that travelers taking fewer flights and lower air pollution could also have played a role in this year’s milestones due to coronavirus lockdowns.

Earlier this month, the Global Carbon Project told Reuters that the coronavirus pandemic could trigger the largest drop in carbon emissions since World War II as people and industries around the world use less energy. 

Less activity has also cut electricity demands as sunnier weather approaches during the spring, Bloomberg reported. The weather and increased wind would boost renewable energy across the country. 

Monday’s record signals that renewable energy is continuing to cut into coal’s share of the market in Germany. The country announced earlier this year that it would spend $44.5 billion to stop using coal by 2038, The New York Times reported.

Germany’s government has made agreements with coal-fed power plants led by RWE AG and LEAG to close down the facilities by 2038. Some of the facilities may also close earlier than that expected date, due to a combination of solar energy costs falling and the added prices for carbon pollution allowances, according to Bloomberg.

The country’s government currently predicts that green energy will make up about 80 percent of electricity by 2038, compared to 40 percent in 2019, the outlet noted.

Tags Coronavirus Solar energy

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