Well, today is December 22nd. It is, in the Northern hemisphere, the shortest day of the year.

A perfect time to think about Solar energy:


Home Solar Power Discounts – One Block Off the Grid

Category: Digital Media, Energy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

11 Responses to “Top 10 Countries for Solar Energy”

  1. Julia Chestnut says:

    Merciful Lord, if the sun accidentally comes out in Germany, everybody skips school!! They are roughly on a common latitude with somewhere in the heart of Canada — and yet, they are covered in solar panels. Can you imagine what Texas could look like with something approaching a sane energy policy in this country? Hell, when I was a kid in Texas, just the heat off of vinyl car seats could have run a generator for hours if captured.

    So Germany, with less than ideal insolation, and China, with less than ideal infrastructure, are both kicking the U.S.’s butts. Just completely nuts.

  2. bifboswell says:

    To give a sense of perspective a large nuclear power plant is 1600 megawatts and runs at something on the order of 95%+ uptime or actual output as a percentage of maximum output. I am assuming the chart shows maximum power output per hour rather than actual output.

    Solar has a much lower actual output compared to most other energy sources. In the case of Germany, after allowing for cloud cover, daylight, etc. the actual output will range from a low of 3% of rated to a high of 20% of rated averaging 12% for the year in Munich. Much lower than installed obviously but solar has nice benefits: $0 fuel costs, very low maintenance, long life span and 0 emissions. Sunnier places will hit a maximum of maybe 30%+.

  3. codepoet says:

    These numbers/information would be more useful in indexed to another meaningful number: population? megawatts of other sources? teakettles??? …something, anything!

    These kind of numbers drive me crazy because the whole issue of solar is that it is an “alternative TO…” something. The “something” needs to be part of the equation to be meaningful.

  4. bifboswell says:

    For more information, graphs, data, etc. go to the US Energy Information Administration:

    http://www.eia.gov for the page on Germany go to:


  5. GeorgeMB says:

    Solar Millennium files for insolvency
    By George Avalos
    Oakland Tribune

    Posted: 12/21/2011 02:27:38 PM PST

    Solar Millennium, which has its U.S. headquarters in downtown Oakland, filed for insolvency in a German court, the company said Wednesday.

    “The management board and the supervisory board deeply regret this development,” Germany-based Solar Millennium said in a statement posted on its website. “In its effort to save existing assets for the shareholders and the creditors, the company felt impelled to take this step.”
    …and another one bites the dust when the heavy government subsidies end.

  6. Frwip says:

    Not completely useless capacity numbers.

    At least, we know who pigged into subsidized solar. Better numbers would capacity per capita and, even more important, capacity factor. In the case of Germany, I’d bet we would all have a good chuckle out of it. In the mean time, they are building … coal plants.


  7. Sechel says:

    The problem with solar, right now is that it’s not economical and competes with other energy forms only due to huge Federal and State subsidies. The technologies that reduce carbon foot-prints such as solar , fuel cells, co-gen , variable speed drive motors, etc are not good economic decisions. The irony is that carbon based energy is subsidized too. If the system was organized properly with all the true costs born by users of energy , all would be incentivized to use the lowest cost product. On the auto front, instead of paying people to buy a Prius or Volt, the government should tax gasoline. And in the case of oil production, end the capping of liabilities of the oil companies which we learned was the case in the Gulf disaster.

  8. constantnormal says:

    Sechel, here are some data for you to season your opinions with …


    Of course, if you still want to be driven by opinion, not thought or data, you can always decide that mere mountains of money don’t matter, it is what you are getting for that money …


    But I would ask a thinking person to contemplate that, and ask when black energy will no longer require subsidies, and also ask that the rate of cost decline in solar energy continues — it is,

  9. constantnormal says:

    Damn submit button is too close to the text area for touchscreens …

    Finishing my sentence …

    It is, after all, a developing technology, not a mature one …


  10. constantnormal says:

    Viewed from the past, the future is almost never an economically sound decision.

    But then the past is often mistaken.

  11. GeorgeMB says:

    We can indulge ourselves in lyrical aphorisms about views from the past and assert that solar is a developing technology, but it really isn’t. Solar has been around for decades. One of the early solar cell companies (1980′s) was started by Arco Oil (now part of BP). Since then the improvement in efficiency for silicon solar cells has been incremental and slow.

    Sunpower Corporation, for example, to the extent it had a competitive advantage in conversion efficiency, was in 3-4 percentage points over competitors. The physics of solar cells holds no order of magnitude increase in conversion efficiency, and certainly the area intensity of sunlight will not change much. And if it did, we’d have far larger problems.

    As an energy source, one gallon of kerosene weighing about 7 pounds contains approximately 135,000 Btu, or 40 kilowatt-hours of energy in electrical terms. That’s your reference point.