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Going nuclear-free: Germany smashes solar power world record

Germany’s solar power plants produced a record 22 gigawatts of energy on Friday, equivalent to the output of 20 nuclear plants. The country is already a world-leader in solar power and hopes to be free of nuclear energy by 2022.

The director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster, northeast Germany, said the solar power delivered to the national grid on Saturday met 50 per cent of the nation’s energy quota.

“Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity. Germany came close to the 20 gigawatt (GW) mark a few times in recent weeks. But this was the first time we made it over,” Norbert Allnoch told Reuters news agency.

The German government decided to turn its back on nuclear energy last year after the Fukushima disaster and plans to be nuclear-free by 2022. Critics have rounded on the initiative, skeptical that renewable sources can meet the nation’s growing energy needs.

“This shows Germany is capable of meeting a large share of its electricity needs with solar power. It also shows Germany can do with fewer coal-burning power plants, gas-burning plants and nuclear plants,” stressed Allmoch. ….

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