Germany: Too Much Solar

Germany has a glut of solar power which is pushing prices negative at times of peak production.


In the situation described you would think battery storage would be an excellent investment. Buy power at 9 cents and sell for 70 cents.

Looks like an excellent opportunity for arbitrage.

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If enough people do this, the 9 cent price will go up and the 70 cent price will go down. And because the capex is so high, it may not be an excellent investment over the long-term.

Germany used to be a net exporter of electricity to its neighbors in the EU. Not any more. Since shutting down the nuclear plants, as well as many of its coal plants, Germany is now a net importer of power.

So far this month, Germany has imported a net 2900 GWh of electricity from its neighbors.

Last year, the same story was observed. Interestingly, the month with the highest electricity imports was August. One would think all of that solar power would reduce imports in the summer. But nope.

After all of its investment in renewables, Germany still has some fairly dirty electricity. The carbon intensity of the electric power sector in Germany, as reported here, is 381 grams of CO2 per kwh. This is slightly worse than the US, at 369 grams/kwh, and much worse than some of Germany’s neighbors, such as France at 56 grams/kwh (mostly nuclear generated electricity) or Sweden at 41 grams/kwh (mostly nuclear and hydro).

  • Pete

The intermittency of solar is forever. The economics have to work with prices in the midrange. But when achieved, everyone benefits.