Graph of the Day: Citizen Ownership of the German Solar Revolution

June 7, 2014

click to enlarge

Institute for Local Self Reliance:

I’ve been posting updates on local ownership of renewable energy in Germany since early 2011, and it’s abundantly clear that the Germans have yet to back down from their commitment to democratic, locally owned power. The following chart continues the series.  For explanation, click the previous link, but know that traditional electric utilities are contained within the 12% of “energy suppliers.”

Show this at your next Tea Party meeting. 


13 Responses to “Graph of the Day: Citizen Ownership of the German Solar Revolution”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    Another graph dealing with the German energy transition (Energiewende) =>

  2. MorinMoss Says:

    Wikipedia lists Germany’s solar installed base at only 36GW so the co-op & citizen owned installs aren’t being included in their info.

  3. Gingerbaker Says:

    Not sure I would categorize this data the same way. I would prefer to think of ownership as being either private or public.

    The only truly ‘democratic’ ownership, I would argue, is one where the costs are shared by all, and the benefit is the reduced cost of energy to all, after the infrastructure is payed off.

    Homeowner systems, then, would be private, not democratic ownership. All entities expecting a profit to their investments would be private ownership. Only local, municipal, state, and national systems would be, to my mind, democratic ownership.

    And there appears to be very little of that. Since only truly democratic ownership will provide the lowest cost to consumers, one has to wonder if Germany is going about this the right way.

    • By your definition, individuals and community groups invest in renewables. They represent over 50 % of ownership. They also pay FIT. Everyone pays tax. They feed energy back into the grid, and german wholesale prices have dropped. German air is cleaner and their economy benefits. Seems like,

      “the costs are shared by all, and the benefit is the reduced cost of energy to all,”.

    • rayduray Says:


      I completely agree with your assessment.

      Part of what is being described as “democratic” in this blog entry is actually rich investors, particularly farmers with land to devote to solar arrays, privately profiting of the quirks of the Energiewende legislation. This is more akin to gaming the system than acting democratically.

  4. Gingerbaker Says:

    How are individual costs shared by all? As far as I can tell, a homeowner puts up tens of thousands of bucks of PV install on his roof. How is that cost shared by all?

    How are the benefits of a homeowner’s PV array shared by all? He takes all the power for himself. Only what he doesn’t use is added to the common pot, and HE gets paid for that.

    Perhaps I am misunderstanding the German system?

    • Yes, you are. In the sense that it is far more complex than ours. You have oversimplified it. I don’t feel qualified (and it may not be possible) to give you a concise description of it. The fact that 50% of german retail cost is taxes should give some idea of the scope of the difference. The taxes account for most of the retail,price increases in the last decade. While on the topic of sharing, it is quite common for german renewables to be community investments. Perhaps my appeal that cleaner air was shared by all was too obvious, so lacked appeal. Costs are shared by all in the form of some part of the taxes going to renewables build out. The high german electricity taxes are government policy, common in Europe. Just like high petrol taxes in europe.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      one benefit that solar owners provide for all is lowering the need for expensive conventional peak power plants.

  5. I might add, the retail electricity price so far has not been the residential benefit. And yes, local PVers do benefit. Given low industry retail costs, the average German enjoys a much better local economy, high employment, better social safety net, and large quantities of fresh, local made beer, not to mention the men get to enjoy bosomy Oktoberfest barmaids and the women get men in leather shorts.

  6. […] 2014/06/07: PSinclair: Graph of the Day: Citizen Ownership of the German Solar Revolution […]

  7. […] 2014/06/07: PSinclair: Graph of the Day: Citizen Ownership of the German Solar Revolution […]

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