June 12, 2007

Germany has a bright sunny future

... and maybe Delhi isn't far behind!

I did not know that Germany was a solar power-house. This is pretty cool... er.. hot...er.. you know what I mean! :)

Cloudy Germany emerging as a solar energy powerhouse
When it opened here in 2004 on a reclaimed mining dump, the Geosol solar plant was the biggest of its kind in the world. It is so clean and green that it produces zero emissions and so easy to operate that it has only three regular workers: plant manager Hans-Joerg Koch and his security guards, sheepdogs named Pushkin and Adi. The plant is part of a building boom that has made gloomy-skied Germany the unlikely global leader in solar-generated electricity. Last year, about half of the world’s solar electricity was produced in the country. Of the 20 biggest photovoltaic plants, 15 are in Germany, even though it has only half as many sunny days as countries such as Portugal.

Update - July 2007: Bavarian farmers set shining example

Also, CNN reports:

The former East Germany, once one of the world’s gloomiest places, has become home to one of the world’s brightest industries: solar power. In late April ground was broken at a former Soviet air base near Leipzig for a $176 million, 40-megawatt photo-voltaic power plant, four times the size of the largest existing solar plant in the world. The facility, being built by Germany’s Juwi International, is scheduled to begin production in late 2009. When it does, it will add significant capacity to eastern Germany’s mushrooming solar power industry.

Meanwhile, in India:

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) aims to save electricity, become more eco-friendly, reduce power theft, and do away with some of the headache of wiring — all at one go. The civic body is planning to replace all streetlights with solar-powered ones. It will be the first in the country to go ahead with the plan on a large-scale. Already, a pilot project that began in the Chanakyapuri area in November 2006 has, despite some hiccups, proved a success. NDMC has tentatively set a 2010 deadline for replacing all streetlights.

Elsewhere in India, household solar systems have turned sunlight to electricity for 100,000 rural Indians, thanks to a UN program and also at a housing estate at a housing estate (old link expired; new link with an update from July 2008 inserted in Sep 2008) in Calcutta/Kolkatta.

In other sunny news:

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