That supporters of both conventional and renewable energies like to use heavily doctored numbers and one-sided arguments to dismiss each other’s claims is nothing new. However, the conservative leaning TV channel Fox News has recently shared their explanation as to why the establishment of photovoltaic plants has not taken off to the same extent in the USA as in Germany. Newsflash: overall solar irradiance is to blame.
Millions of viewers watched as Shibani Joshi, billed as a Fox Business Network Expert, explained in front of running cameras that: “They’re a smaller country, and they’ve got lots of sun. Right? They’ve got a lot more sun than we do.” Smaller country = more sun. “In California, it’s a great solution, but here on the East Coast, it’s just not going to work”.
Every layman, however, can see from current irradiance maps the reality behind the statements of this “Expert”. For some perspective, here is a map from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, working under the American Dept. of Energy.
Irradiance in comparison: The USA is notedly sunnier than Germany. Illustration courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Despite the clearly better solar conditions in the USA, Germany brought more PV capacity online in the last year alone than the USA has installed to date (7.6GW installed in 2012 in Germany, 6.9GW installed capacity in the USA total).
Check out the original footage here: