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Germany: 446GW of PV capacity still needs to be installed to achieve 100% renewable energy supply

New research by the Fraunhofer ISE (German Institute for Solar Energy Systems) shows that Germany has exactly enough space available for a huge increase in installed solar PV capacity. In fact, more than 3,000 GW of photovoltaic capacity could be deployed using all available areas - including opencast mines, facades, roads and agricultural land used in combination with solar power.

Experts agree that a massive increase in solar photovoltaic, wind and solar thermal capacity is necessary if Germany is to achieve its energy transition and climate neutrality goals. "In order to meet 100 per cent of our electricity demand with renewable energy sources, we would have to install six to eight times more PV capacity than we have today." says Christoph Kost, head of the Energy Systems and Energy Management Group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.

This increase corresponds to an installed PV capacity of 303-446 GW. At the same time, a study carried out by researchers on behalf of Greenpeace shows that the production capacity of solar thermal systems must at least triple, i.e. from around 15 GW today to 45-49 GW.

Such a strong increase in the coming years would require a lot of space. But this research paper indicates that there is entirely enough surface to exploit. If solar power plants were installed in agricultural areas, artificial lakes, facades, car parks, streets, noise barriers or vehicles, the installed capacity could reach 3,160 GW.

The significant growth of photovoltaic power generation in Germany could create thousands of new jobs. For example, according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, the construction of vertically integrated PV production structures in Europe would create around 750 jobs per gigawatt of module production capacity. At the same time, the current dependence on imports of photovoltaic modules and their CO2 emissions would be reduced. In terms of installing new photovoltaic power plants, each gigawatt of production capacity would create an additional 3,500 jobs.