Germany sees surge in new solar power as prices drop

Germany sees surge in new solar power as prices drop
FILE--- Picture taken 24 April 2017 shows cells of a solar power plant in Herdwangen, Germany, (Patrick Seeger/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany added almost 3 gigawatts of new solar power generation in 2018, about 68 percent more than the previous year amid a drop in prices for new systems.

But the country’s solar industry association, BSW, said Thursday that Germany needs 7.5 GW of new photovoltaic systems annually to meet long-term energy demand.

Germany plans to switch off its nuclear plants by 2022 and the government is considering a proposal to stop burning coal for electricity by 2038 at the latest in a bid to curb greenhouse emissions.

Europe’s biggest economy depends heavily on reliable electricity supplies. Solar contributed about 8 percent of Germany’s electricity last year.

At 46 GW, Germany has the fourth largest installed solar capacity behind China (174 GW), the United States (63 GW) and Japan (60 GW).