The move to a low-carbon economy powered by renewable energy sources has the potential to shape the labour market in Germany. In fact, Germany produced enough renewable energy in the first half of 2018 to power every household in the country for a year.
According to energy firm E.On, the nation’s combined wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric power output hit a record 104 billions kWh between January and the end of June – and this figure is 9.5% more than the same period of 2017, and third more than three years ago.
So, does PV contribute significantly to the power supply?
Essentially, yes. It’s thought that PV-generated power amounted to about 40 TWh and covered approximately 7.2% of Germany’s net electricity consumption – and this has led to job creation across the country.
In 2016, the PV industry employed 36,000 people in Germany, with businesses from the following sectors contributing to the German PV industry:
- Manufacturing of materials including silicon, wafers, metal pastes, plastic films, solar glass
- Manufacturing of intermediate and final products, including solar cells, modules, inverters, supporting structures, cables and coated glass
- Construction of manufacturing plants
What does the future look like for PV systems in Germany?
While PV systems aren’t capable of entirely replacing fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, at least not in the near future, they are certainly capable of reducing the use of fossil fuels, imported energy consumption and CO2 emissions. That said, the most critical test is present when there are calm, dull winter days when power consumption is at a maximum and no solar or wind power is available.
PV and wind power are increasingly colliding with conventional power plants, which must be replaced with flexible power plants as soon as is possible. Not only will this enable Germany to cover a significant proportion of energy demand with PV power, but it will also ultimately aid in job creation.
Renewable energy sources will continue to become more familiar, not just to Germany but also internationally – especially as worldwide agreements are being put in place to tackle climate change and drive down emissions. As this rapid development takes place, there’s opportunity for energy workers to play a major role in adding to the German economy.
Germany has been amongst the world’s top PV installer for several years, behind only China. But over recent years, new installations of PV systems have declined, with proponents from the industry blaming lack of government commitment and the financial burden associated with the roll-out of PV systems. However, Germany’s official goal is to continuously increase the contribution of renewable energies to the country’s overall electricity consumption.
With this in mind, it seems logical to assume that the PV industry in Germany will continue to grow, providing a cleaner energy future for the country and aiding in job creation for those within the industry and businesses associated with it.