Germany is ill-suited for solar energy as it is at 50 degrees North latitude and has extensive cloud cover and weak sunshine in the winter. There are only 1550 hours of sunshine per year in most German cities which amounts to only 17% of the year (only a cloud-free desert at the equator would have 50% sunshine). Refer to the graph below. But even on a sunny day, only cloud-free sunshine after about 8 or 9 am until late afternoon will give full output of solar voltaic cells. Early morning and late afternoon sunshine gives low photo-voltaic cell output. Clouds are also a problem. This means that solar panels really only function at full, rated power about 1/2 of the time WHEN THE SUN IS SHINING or something like 8 to 10% of the time in Germany! Eight percent of rated capacity is essentially nothing compared to the installed cost! Furthermore, you have to duplicate installed generating capacity (or capacity from imports) for the other 92% of the time!
|Germany Climate Graph Shows Average days of Sunlight (Click to Enlarge)|
Installed solar panels might have a large "name plate" capacity at ideal conditions and full, direct sunshine, but actual captured energy is so small that it probably will never be economic to capture solar energy with photo-voltaics in Germany.
So, yes there is a costly surge of capacity addition of solar panels in Germany, but actual production of electricity is quite low and unreliable. What's worse if that there has to be back-up sources of power generation when wind and solar power is unavailable.
This fact is echoed in a very good Der Spiegel article "Re-evaluating Germany's Blind Faith in the Sun" which says that Germany has already committed something like 100 billion (Euros) of Solar energy subsidies in the next 20 years and is getting very little for the money for the reasons above. The consumer has to pay this via subsidies on their already high electric bills (or taxes).