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  #1  
Old 08 February 2013, 06:46 PM
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Germany Fox News Claims Solar Won't Work in America Because It's Not Sunny Like Germany

Thanks to Fox News and its expert commentators, millions of Americans now understand the real, hidden reason why Germany's solar-energy industry is so much further along than ours. Turns out it has nothing to do with the fact that Germany's government has long supported the industry far more generously, with policies like feed-in tariffs that stimulate investment in green technologies. No, the real reason is much simpler, explained a trio of journalists on Fox & Friends: It's always sunny in Germany!

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/02...germany/192568
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  #2  
Old 08 February 2013, 07:56 PM
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Well that's a pointless statement.

Germany is a fairly medium sized country, enough so in layman terms you can use a phrase like "German Climate" accurately although that is still an oversimplification, (technically Germany has two climate regions; Temperate Seasonal and Continental) while the Continental United States alone has 12 and a phrase like "United States Climate" would be fairly ridiculous in most contexts.

At this very moment it's 83 degrees, with both a tornado warning and a massive blizzard about to hit in the United States. I'm sure we've had pretty substantial heat waves and cold snaps occurring at the same time before.
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Old 08 February 2013, 08:35 PM
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Yeah, it's a shame that with all this climate diversity we get from spanning roughly 50 degrees of latitude, there's no belt-like swath of land that gets sun.
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Old 08 February 2013, 08:43 PM
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I think they can't see the sun shining because their heads are somewhere the sun doesn't shine...
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  #5  
Old 08 February 2013, 08:47 PM
lavender blue lavender blue is offline
 
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I was about to say that the Fox journalists should travel with me, because every time I go to Germany it rains Katzen und Hunde. But they'd probably drive me crazy before we finished the plane flight to get there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Well that's a pointless statement.
Their statement is not just pointless, it's anti-point--the opposite is clearly correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
Yeah, it's a shame that with all this climate diversity we get from spanning roughly 50 degrees of latitude, there's no belt-like swath of land that gets sun.
Well, it's good to know we are closer to balancing the budget now that most of our farm subsidies can be repealed.
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  #6  
Old 08 February 2013, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lavender blue View Post
I was about to say that the Fox journalists should travel with me, because every time I go to Germany it rains Katzen und Hunde. But they'd probably drive me crazy before we finished the plane flight to get there.
Pack them in your checked luggage,
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  #7  
Old 09 February 2013, 12:33 AM
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Well, there is that giant desert in Germany that's bigger than all US deserts combined. It might require making a treaty with the nomads and bedouin tribes but it's way way bigger than, for example, Death Valley or the Mojave. Or is that Algeria? I always get those countries mixed up. Anyway, yeah, I agree with Fox News on this. Plus, like Joe said, climate over a large country is meaningless.
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  #8  
Old 09 February 2013, 12:37 AM
Magdalene Magdalene is online now
 
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Dear Fox,

You might want to compare actuality to myth. Fer example:

MYTH: Denver is always snowy, cloudy and cold, because we always get shots of the snow-covered Rocky Mountains in the background.

FACT: Denver actually has almost as many sunny days as Miami, Florida.

Magdalene
(Who lives in Denver and can testify to the amount of sunshine--and in fact, longs for rainy days.)
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  #9  
Old 09 February 2013, 12:39 AM
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Fun Fact, Houston actually gets more rain then Seattle, although not nearly as many rainy days.
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  #10  
Old 09 February 2013, 12:58 AM
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So, as you can see, Germany is that large pink country (indicating lots of sunlight) next to Libya, whereas the US is mostly green (indicating very little).
http://csirosolarthermal.files.wordp...g_white_lg.png
Also, you can quite clearly that there's no big difference between different medium-sized countries.
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Old 09 February 2013, 03:11 AM
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It used to be a lot sunnier here in the US, before Obama got elected and made the sun all socialist.
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  #12  
Old 09 February 2013, 03:37 AM
Magdalene Magdalene is online now
 
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Are we sure Mr. Burns isn't at fault somehow, for our lack of sunshine? Somebody get Maggie Simpson, she'll straighten him out.

Magdalene
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  #13  
Old 09 February 2013, 04:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
So, as you can see, Germany is that large pink country (indicating lots of sunlight) next to Libya, whereas the US is mostly green (indicating very little).
http://csirosolarthermal.files.wordp...g_white_lg.png
Also, you can quite clearly that there's no big difference between different medium-sized countries.
How does Antarctica get so much? I know they have seasons of 24-hour sunlight down there, but they also have 24-hour night, so...seriously, how does Antarctica get so much?
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Old 09 February 2013, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
How does Antarctica get so much? I know they have seasons of 24-hour sunlight down there, but they also have 24-hour night, so...seriously, how does Antarctica get so much?
Oddly enough, the Antarctic interior is one of the driest places on earth, and is widely considered a desert.

ETA: Also, that projection makes the Antarctic look way bigger than it really is, so it is easy to get the idea that it gets more total radiant energy than it really does.

Last edited by BoKu; 09 February 2013 at 05:46 AM.
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  #15  
Old 09 February 2013, 05:41 AM
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Germany

Most of Antarctica is desert, with very little cloud cover or precipitation; it's the largest desert in the world. The only reason solar doesn't take off there is that the natives don't speak German. (At least, according to I. B. Spanked.)
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Old 09 February 2013, 06:45 AM
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Did they follow this up with an interview with the Easter Bunny, Cupid and a lepercon?
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  #17  
Old 09 February 2013, 07:06 AM
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Still, while Antarctica is almost never cloudy, and has its midnight sun periods, the sunlight it receives is always exceedingly oblique, which means the sunlight has to pass through a larger amount of atmosphere than in areas with more nearly overhead sunshine.
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  #18  
Old 09 February 2013, 07:13 AM
Hummelcat Hummelcat is offline
 
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DH and I spent most of our lives in central California. We've lived in northern Germany now for 17 years. Our accents are apparently not immediately obvious as American, so folks ask us where we're from. We usually reply "California", to which the locals ask "wie, bitte???" (as in, why would we leave sunny California for grey drizzly dreary northern Germany). We have lots of entertaining conversations about the weather with folks.

Soooo, California is in the USA, and is known across the world for its sunshine. (Northern) Germany is in, well, Germany, and is known by the locals for its lack of sunshine.

I do have to wonder why there are solar water-heater panels on roofs around here, and why there are electricity-generating solar parks in the neighborhood, but perhaps the technology has advanced since the days of my youth, when you had to have actual, you know, sunshine for those solar panels to work with. Obviously these modern solar panels are worth the expense of putting them up, but they are definitely NOT depending on real sunshine for their energy needs around here.
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  #19  
Old 09 February 2013, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
[...] the sunlight has to pass through a larger amount of atmosphere than in areas with more nearly overhead sunshine.
True but, as you can see from the map, that has little effect on the total amount of energy that reaches the ground. It also helps that most of the cloud free time is in the Antarctic summer which gets those long sunshine hours.
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  #20  
Old 09 February 2013, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
True but, as you can see from the map, that has little effect on the total amount of energy that reaches the ground. It also helps that most of the cloud free time is in the Antarctic summer which gets those long sunshine hours.
I think it does though. If I understand "direct normal radiation" correctly it is measured relative to the angle of the sunlight, not the ground. If so, then his point stands. If you aim a panel directly at the sun then you'll get roughly the same amount of energy down there (and more than most places because of the clear skies). But nevertheless it still means that far less energy is spread out over each unit of area. Those panels aimed at the sun would have to be spread out wayyyy more to avoid getting in each others shadows. Concentrated solar facilities would have to be spread out over more land to concentrate the same amount of sunlight, etc. To have large scale facilities be unaffected by the extreme angle you'd have to build your facilities up vertically toward the sky instead of spreading out horizontally.
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