See mummy, the roof is covered in solar panels!

We took the train from Amsterdam to Berlin earlier this month. While the change of staff from the friendly Dutch to the slightly brusque German crew is noticeable, the scenery outside isn’t immediately very different. It takes a while for the oh-so-flat Dutch scenery to transform into the rolling countryside around the Rhine. But Udai’s observation was on the ball when he started pointing out the growing number of houses with solar panels on the roofs. Soon he was showing us homes and barns and storage sheds with their entire roofs covered in solar panels!

solar-panels-roof-germany-537x357-300x199I made a mental note that day (12th June) to look up the solar energy achievements of Germany but it slipped my mind. However, I read today that at about the same time as we were excitedly pointing out all those solar panels to each other and telling Aadyaa what solar was all about, Germany had set three national records related to solar energy! Over 50% of the country’s energy needs are now met by solar. Mind blowing indeed, especially for a nation not abundant in sunshine. Can we in India imagine the potential here?

Probing deeper, I gather that Germany’s solar capacity is largely installed on residential and commercial rooftops rather than at industrial facilities. However, from a policy perspective, I understand that the nation’s heavy subsidization of solar and wind energy while cutting back on nuclear energy production has meant both extremely high power tariffs and increased carbon emissions owing to more usage of coal and gas. Everything has a flip side, I suppose!

About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on June 25, 2014, in Urban Planning & Policy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This is a great information. We should learn from them on utilizing the alternative energies. We are mainly depended on hydro and nuclear projects. India should focus on wind as well as solar energy which will make them more sustainable in the long run. The government is giving out subsidies for installing solar panels in our homes, but I guess its not properly utilized by both govt and the citizens. Basic fact is that we are not aware of this or are hesitant to follow.

  2. What is really needed to go totally green is a working system to store energy. Germany is working on it, but currently the use of all those solar panels is nearly nil as soon as the sun goes down (which is also the time most people need energy). Wind energy works during the night, but only when the wind actually blows…which is why without nuclear energy coal and gas are the not so clean alternatives. Sadly.

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