BERLIN, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Solar power plants with a total peak output of 2,960 megawatts were newly put into operation in Germany in 2018, marking an increase of 68 percent compared to the previous year, the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar) announced on Thursday.
Solar power plants could make a significant contribution to "reliably and inexpensively closing the gaps caused by the nuclear and coal phase-out", emphasized BSW-Solar chairman Carsten Koernig.
In its final report, the German coal commission recommended a phase-out of Germans coal-fired power generation by 2038. In addition, all nuclear power plants in Germany are to be shut down by 2022.
The coalition agreement by the German government includes a target of 65 percent of power supply from renewable energies by 2030. According to solar association BSW, the total output of solar power plants in Germany had amounted to 46 gigawatts (GW) in 2018.
In 2018, the share of renewable energy in Germany reached a record high of 40 percent. Due to a particularly long summer, solar energy registered the largest growth with 16 percent and accounted for 8 percent of the total power mix. Brown coal accounted for the largest share in the German power mix with a share of 24.1 percent, followed by wind energy with 20.4 percent.
Globally, Germany ranks fourth among the largest electricity producers from solar energy. China is leading the ranking with a total capacity of about 174 GW, followed by the United States with 63 GW and Japan with 60 GW.
The BSW called on the German government to set the energy policy course for the expansion of renewable energies in this year. "The annual solar energy expansion targets are outdated," said BSW-Solar chairman Koernig.
The targets would have to be "at least tripled in the short term" while "existing market barriers for direct solar supply" should be removed quickly, Koernig said.