Sunday, February 10, 2013

Breaking (FOX) News: It's sunnier in Germany!

Many people are aware that Germany is one of the leading solar energy producers (and consumers) in the world. Now it seems that this might have something to do with the willingness of the German government to subsidize and encourage solar energy production on a scale far beyond anything we see in the United States. If that is the case, we might be able to take away some lessons from their success, and apply them here in the energy-hungry United States...

But not so fast! It turns out that the real reason for this success, according to FOX "News", is the copious amounts of sunshine received by Germany, far more than in dismal, cloudy places like, say, California.

It's all nonsense, of course. Completely wrong nonsense, completely at odds with the facts. But it's on FOX, and far, far too many people swear by FOX - and automatically believe anything they hear there.

Americablog: Fox News: Solar only works in Germany because it gets more sunlight than US

The hard truth: the amount of sunlight that shines on Germany is comparable to the amounts that shine on Alaska and Seattle. Even Pennsylvania has considerably more sunlight! It is true that solar panels operate more efficiently at lower temperatures, so a panel in a sunny but cool location will function more efficiently and produce more power than a panel in an equally sunny but much hotter location. But the success of solar power in Germany is due to government support. If some fraction of the  money given by the federal government to the fossil fuel industry were instead to be redirected towards the development, production, and installation of solar energy systems in the U.S., the results would be remarkable. Will we see this in our lifetimes?

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