January 27, 2023

Westside People

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Are solar panels exposed to sunlight?

It’s a paradox: the more the sun shines, the more German entrepreneur Jens Hussmann’s photovoltaic installation has every chance of being disconnected from the electricity grid, a waste of energy that is so precious in these energy crisis times.

“There are cuts every day,” laments AFP this small solar power producer, whose panels line the roof of a transport company in Aurach, northern Bavaria.

In about 200 days since the beginning of the year, his installation has been shut down more than half the time.

The current produced during these outages is actually thrown away because the network does not have the capacity to carry it.

The contractor can supply electricity to about 50 houses. Instead, it will not deliver half of its production capacity by the end of the year.

“This is a deception for the population,” he fumed.

At the same time electricity prices are rising in the wake of the war in Ukraine, his irritation is heightened as the government continues to proclaim that it wants to promote clean energy in Germany to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels and fossil fuels. to achieve its climate objectives.

He is not the only victim: these “disconnection” operations from the grid have proliferated in his region in recent years, mainly targeting large photovoltaic installations.

Local operator N-Ergie, which buys Jens Husemann’s product, is well aware of the problem, but has no choice but to intervene in the event of increasing disruptions or maintenance of the network.

“We are currently witnessing – this is fortunate – a maximum increase in photovoltaic parks, which we have not seen in the past,” underlines Rainer Kleidorfer, head of the operator’s development department.

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But while it takes one to two years to operate a park, he points out, “the extension of the network infrastructure that needs to be carried out in parallel can take five to ten years”, especially because of the very long administration. Accreditation procedures.

The result: The number of outages has continued to rise in recent years, mainly around “afternoon peaks” when the sun shines most intensely.

Solar Energy Consortium director Carsten Kornick says the production event, which explodes when the grid can’t keep up, is affecting wind power more nationally.

In terms of solar energy, according to him, the problems are relatively few and in the region, some large photovoltaic parks in Bavaria and East Germany are the most affected.

In the future, the problem will intensify in rural areas, said Mr. Koenig fears, especially if “the political decision-making aimed at building a network according to needs lasts too long”.

According to the latest official data, 6.1 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity produced by renewable energies in Germany in 2020 will not be used due to grid weakness.

Taking an average consumption of 2,500 kilowatt hours for a two-person household, this represents the amount of electricity lost to about 2.4 million homes.

The Federal Network Agency wants to make sure.

“The view that the development of a network cannot keep pace with demand is not generally shared,” says a company spokesperson.

Admittedly, he acknowledges that delays occur due to lengthy accreditation procedures or the overwork of specialized agencies.

As annoying as the regular cuts to his comfort were, Jens Hussmann wouldn’t have lost much financially.

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The operator actually had to pay him more than 35,000 euros in compensation.