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A worker inspects solar panels at a solar farm in Dunhuang, 950km northwest of Lanzhou, Gansu Province
Fewer smokestacks, more solar panels and wind turbines. Photograph by Carlos Barria — Reuters

Why Germany Is Paying People to Use Electricity

May 11, 2016

On Sunday, May 8 Germany produced so much electric power that prices were actually negative. As in, customers got paid to use the electrical system.

The crazy high energy production was due to an especially sunny windy day in the European nation, meaning that wind farms and solar panels were able to make even more renewable power than usual, reports Quartz.

In total, 87% of the power produced in Germany was made at solar, wind, hydro and biomass plants during that day. The average percentage last year was 33%.

“We have a greater share of renewable energy every year,” said Christoph Podewils of Agora, a clean energy think tank in Germany, to Quartz. “The power system adapted to this quite nicely. This day shows again that a system with large amounts of renewable energy works fine.”

Germany is hoping to be on 100% renewable energy by 2050. Neighboring Denmark already sometimes produces more renewable energy than the nation's citizens consume.

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