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Germany is said to have set a new world record for the amount of solar energy produced by a nation.
 
According to the Institute of Renewable Energy (IWR), solar plants produced a record breaking 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour at midday on Friday and Saturday.
 
This amount of electricity is equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity. It provided a third of the countries energy needs during a work day on Friday, and half of its needs on Saturday when offices and factories were closed.
 
The German government took the decision to move away from nuclear energy shortly after the disaster in Fukushima last year. In all eight nuclear power plants were closed immediately with the remaining nine are all due to be closed by 2022.
 
Critics of renewable energy have argued that it is not reliable enough and an industrialised nation can never produce enough of it to meet its needs. But German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has set out to prove that it is possible, and at the moment the country gets 20 percent of its annual overall electricity from renewables, and four percent from the sun alone.
 
This has been costly however, as a 2012 Environment Ministry report showed that German customers pay an extra four billion euros per year on top of their electricity bills to support solar power.

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