Solar Panels – the New Cash Crop

On our most recent drive to Franconia, we noticed again how progress and tradition blend. I admire the Franconian hillsides covered in lush vines as well as the plains with their wheat and sunflower fields reflecting in the golden sun light.

And yet, all this sun light produces an additional cash crop: solar energy. Occasionally we spot big fields covered with black solar panels, along the wayside of the Autobahn. What an unusual sight!

solar panels and black looking fields

Our eyes have become accustomed to seeing black roof tops on houses in small villages.. But it will take us a few more drives on the Autobahn into Northern Bavaria to get used to seeing these black fields without thinking something has gone wrong.

More about Solar Electricity Handbook, 2010 Edition: A Simple Practical Guide to Solar Energy – Designing and Installing Photovoltaic Solar Electric Systems from

I am all for solar energy. But my habitual German eyes have to learn to catch up to my progressive mind.


  1. Susan Fedors says

    Hi, Maria,
    I am glad to hear so many there are going solar. Inspired by those lovely panels cropping up on German roofs, my family put a solar water heater and a small system of photovoltaic panels on our own roof soon after we returned to the U.S. from Germany. We were able to take advantage of several federal, state, and local incentives that helped make it affordable. We figured out that it was less expensive than the Toyota Prius we had considered buying and it would hold its value longer. Three years later, as my neighbors have begun redecorating their roofs with solar technology, the prices have dropped dramatically. The technologies are becoming less expensive and more efficient as the market grows!

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