Germany: Utility EnBW plans to build 175MW subsidy-free solar park
“We have seen a remarkable development over the past few years in solar technology,” explains Dirk Güsewell, Head of Generation Portfolio Development at EnBW. “Due to technical advances, the cost of constructing solar parks has fallen dramatically – by up to 90 per cent over the last ten years in Germany. Therefore, today the costs involved in solar energy are on at least an equal footing with other technologies – which has also been demonstrated by the results of the latest auctions. We anticipate that the first large solar projects will be realised without EEG funding in the foreseeable future. Solar energy thus has a realistic chance of achieving this market maturity.”
Against this background, EnBW has significantly expanded its activities in the solar sector over the past few months and has now established a project development pipeline of around 800 megawatts.
175MW project east of Berlin
The first major project in Werneuchen (Brandenburg) is currently already taking concrete form. At the Weesow-Willmersdorf solar park, EnBW is planning to construct what is currently the largest solar park in Germany, with an output of 175 megawatts and covering an area of 164 hectares. The solar park will generate 175 gigawatt hours of electricity per year and cover the aggregate requirements of 50,000 households while saving 125,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). EnBW acquired the project from Procon Solar last year. It has been in development since 2009.
Construction work planned to start end of the year
The land has already been secured for the project and the building requirements were satisfied in the development plan. Work is currently at the detailed planning stage. As soon as the technical execution plan has been created and the investment decision has been taken, the initial preparatory work for the construction of the park could begin by the end of the year.
Profitabel operation without funding
“As part of our EnBW 2020 strategy, we have established a new business field for renewable energies and have successfully developed it into an important pillar for the company. And we aim to grow further in this area,” explained EnBW Chief Technical Officer Hans-Josef Zimmer. “By realising the Weesow-Willmersdorf solar park, we will not only become one of the top players on the German PV market, but will once again be sending an important signal – following the “zero cent bid” for our He Dreiht offshore wind farm in 2017 – about the market viability of renewable technologies. At Weesow-Willmersdorf, we want to prove that our solar park can be the first in Germany to be operated profitably without funding.”
Renewables as one of the main pillars of the utility
As part of its EnBW 2020 repositioning strategy, EnBW set itself the aim of making renewable energies one of the main pillars of the company. Alongside its main focus on wind power, where EnBW is making very good progress both onshore and offshore, the company has also been rigorously engaged in the development of solar projects and demonstrated its competitiveness. Since the introduction of the auctions in April 2015, EnBW has had fourteen bids accepted overall with a total output of 64 megawatts. As a result, EnBW is now one of the most successful companies in the auctions for solar energy and, at the same time, is the leading energy supplier amongst the participants. EnBW currently has solar parks connected to the grid in Germany with a total output of 70 megawatts. Four further solar parks with a total output of 25 megawatts are under construction or at the planning stage. Alongside the development and realisation of projects, EnBW is also active in the area of operational management and direct distribution for solar parks. (HCN)
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