Solar power worshipers point to Germany as their role model. Germany has lead Europe and perhaps the world in the push for solar electricity. With massive government subsidies, the Germans have spent a fortune on massive solar installations that today they can proudly point to.
Only one problem. Winter. Turns out that solar doesn't work well in winter -- or with cloudy weather. And guess what -- such conditions effect ALL the solar arrays at the same time. Thus they can't get rid of the old power plants -- they need them regardless of how much solar they build.
Consider this excerpt from an excellent 1/18/2012 Der Spiegel detailed article on the travails of Teutonic solar spending:
. . .
The only thing that's missing at the moment is sunshine. For weeks now, the 1.1 million solar power systems in Germany have generated almost no electricity. The days are short, the weather is bad and the sky is overcast.
As is so often the case in winter, all solar panels more or less stopped generating electricity at the same time. To avert power shortages, Germany currently has to import large amounts of electricity generated at nuclear power plants in France and the Czech Republic. To offset the temporary loss of solar power, grid operator Tennet resorted to an emergency backup plan, powering up an old oil-fired plant in the Austrian city of Graz.
Solar energy has gone from being the great white hope, to an impediment, to a reliable energy supply. Solar farm operators and homeowners with solar panels on their roofs collected more than €8 billion ($10.2 billion) in subsidies in 2011, but the electricity they generated made up only about 3 percent of the total power supply, and that at unpredictable times.
. . .
Solar Subsidy Sinkhole
Re-Evaluating Germany's Blind Faith in the Sun
The only good news is that FINALLY the Germans are moving rapidly to put an end to the solar subsidy madness. And the solar industry is shocked by this. Consider this Bloomberg news service article headline (and look over the article as well):
Solar Stocks Plunge as Germany Vows to Quicken Subsidy Cuts
An business totally dependent on massive taxpayer subsidies is a doomed industry waiting to die.
President Obama -- are you watching this play out? Obviously not.