Germany’s solar panels produced record amounts of electricity, exacerbating market forces that were already hammering the profitability of the country’s remaining coal plants. Gin-clear skies over central Europe helped photovoltaic plants produce 32,227 megawatts on Monday, beating the previous record on March 23. Bright conditions are expected to continue this week, according to Germany’s DWD federal weather service.
“There is hardly a cloud over Germany,” Andreas Friedrich, a spokesman for the DWD, said by phone. “And a high-pressure system over Scandinavia will keep these conditions in place until at least Friday.” Renewables are cutting deeper into the market share for coal, the fuel on which Germany’s wealth and industrial prowess was built. The government forecasts that green power will make up about 80% of the electricity mix by 2038, compared with just over 40% in 2019.
The government has agreed with coal plant operators led by RWE AG and LEAG to gradually wind down power plants fed by the fuel by 2038. Some of those facilities may close earlier than expected as falling costs for solar energy and firm prices for carbon pollution allowances makes coal power increasingly unprofitable.
Sunny conditions meant solar generated as much as about 40% of Germany’s power Monday, compared to the 22% produced by coal and nuclear, according to Agora Energiewende. Solar, wind and other renewables accounted for 78% of Germany’s electricity output.