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With these numbers, the comparison between gas and renewables in the diary is not really correct. For PV you have approximate capacity factors:

Fixed system, Netherlands: 10%
Tracking system, Netherlands: 12%
Fixed system, Sicily: 17%
Tracking system, Sicily: 22%

(PV calculator here).

I don't know much about wind capacity factors, but I seem to remember a figure above 30% for offshore wind in the North Sea.

Real capricorns don't believe in astrology.

by tomhuld (thomas punkt huld at jrc punkt it) on Wed Feb 3rd, 2010 at 06:20:10 PM EST
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The overwhelming majority of European PV is fixed system, and most of it is in Germany. This figure is on one hand pushed up by PV in Spain, on the other hand, down by non-ideal siting (roofs not facing South, trees and hillsides), so I felt the ballpark figure from there (1/9 or 11.1%) could be applied. Now I did a second check on that, estimating the average capacity factor for Germany from total generation and installed capacity (uncertain due to the high growth of the latter), and got around 10.5% -- so it seems non-ideal siting counts less, and the EU average could be around 12.5% or one eighth.

Similarly, while offshore can even reach 40%, the overwhelming majority of European wind (73 out of 75 GW) is on-shore, and it can be well below 20% on some locations. Again I have the TWh and GW numbers for Germany, in 2008, the average capacity factor was around 21.5%, which is contrasted with higher numbers in virtually every other country on the Atlantic coast, so one fourth should be about right as EU average.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 04:09:21 AM EST
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