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Solar power helps meet rise in demand

16th Feb 2012

There are many advantages to solar power, such as its ability to continue generating electricity during periods of high demand.

So long as there is solar energy to be harnessed, the panels will produce power in both a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way.

One country to have recently relied on the benefits of solar power is Germany, which was enlisted to help neighbouring France when it found itself short of power.

Many parts of Europe are currently experiencing extremely cold temperatures, meaning demand for energy is at one of the highest levels ever seen.

The grid in France even issued warnings to members of the public not to use electrical equipment such as coffee makers and washing machines.

France is one of the most badly affected countries and has therefore been forced to rely on its neighbour to help meet demand, Reuters reports.

Germany is believed to house around 37 per cent of the world's solar plants and relied on its renewable energy sources to help cover the rise in demand for electricity.

On the other hand, France is reputed to be the most nuclear-dependent nation in the world and experienced price spikes as people relied heavily on the grid during the cold snap.

Jean Bergougnoux, a former chief executive of EDF energy, told the news provider that the French often rely on electrical appliances to keep them warm.

He continued: "One million mobile electric heaters are sold in France every year, give or take, especially in large spaces.

"Many of them are used during cold periods, in poorly heated locations and/or poorly insulated ones."

It was recently suggested by executive director of Beyond Zero Emissions Matthew Wright that Australia should take inspiration from solar power projects seen in countries such as Germany.

He highlighted that they tend to use solar panels on the roofs of commercial and residential buildings as very little needs to be spent on integrating the technology.

Furthermore, the cost of the installations can start to be recouped much faster than with some other renewable projects, the expert suggested.

One of the major benefits of solar power is that it is nested in the grid and is able to compete with other providers in the retail electricity market, therefore making it more economically viable.

The only way that it will succeed on a large-scale basis is hybridising it alongside a solar thermal plant with 12 to 16 hours of storage, Mr Wright indicated.

Posted by Mike Peacock


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