Karlsruhe/Alttrebbin/Gottesgabe. It has been almost a year since EnBW commissioned Germany's largest open-field solar site to date, the “Weesow-Willmersdorf” solar park in Brandenburg. The company is now gradually commissioning the next two XXL subsidy-free solar parks built in “Alttrebbin” and “Gottesgabe,” each capable of generating around 150 megawatts (MW). Together the three projects form a solar cluster east of Berlin capable of generating around 500 MW, making a significant contribution to the supply of energy from renewable sources in Germany.
“With the two solar parks, we are expanding the output of all photovoltaic projects realized in Germany last year by five percent in one go,” explains Thorsten Jörß, Head of Project Development Photovoltaics at EnBW. “Open-field sites like these really help to expand solar energy generation more quickly. And this is all the more important given the ambitious targets set by the German government. After all, the measures it has announced to accelerate the expansion of renewable energy sources, such as faster approval procedures, will not have a noticeable effect overnight.”
The first ever use of battery storage systems in a solar park
EnBW is using battery storage systems for the first time in the “Alttrebbin” and “Gottesgabe” projects. Each with a capacity of 3.9 megawatt hours, they are designed to cope with the winter days when there is little daylight. In other words, they store the solar energy and then cover the needs of the site’s own transformer stations and inverters at night. The solar parks thus generate the energy needed for operations completely by themselves. Furthermore, during times of intense sunshine, the storage system can even feed solar energy into the power grid and the electricity can be made available on the market. The combination of renewable sites and decentralized storage systems therefore makes a valuable contribution to the energy transition and helps to make solar power more constantly available. “Wherever it makes sense and is economically viable, we incorporate such storage systems into our solar park plans,” says Jörß.
Around 700,000 modules generate power for 90,000 households
The first kilowatt hours have been flowing out of the “Gottesgabe” solar park since mid-February. The first feed-in took place yesterday in “Altrebbin.” Both solar parks are set to be operational by the end of March and will be able to supply around 90,000 households with energy from renewable sources every year. EnBW has installed approximately 700,000 so-called bifacial solar modules in total. This means that the reverse side of the solar modules can also convert indirect sunlight into electrical energy.
The solar parks feed the generated energy into the 110,000-volt high voltage grid managed by the grid operator E.DIS near Metzdorf. To this end, EnBW has laid around eight kilometers of high-voltage cable stretching to the grid connection point.
Construction work began on both projects in March 2021. They were due to be commissioned by the end of 2021. However, the project team had to adjust the timing of the individual work crews on the building site during the construction phase. This was due to delays caused by the global supply shortages, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the floods in Europe. “Yet we didn’t resign ourselves to the situation. By rescheduling individual crews, we still managed to get on with the construction work at a swift pace,” explains Jens Darocha, the project manager responsible for “Gottesgabe.”
Until a few days ago, teams of around 100 people in both solar parks were still working flat out to install the final modules. “The team had to be creative on several occasions. That is why we are more than happy to bring both solar parks online following a construction period of about a year,” summarizes Philipp Herrmann, project manager of “Alttrebbin.” “Above all, we wish to thank each and every person in the team of our expert partners as well as the local communities and authorities.”
With over 24,000 employees, EnBW is one of the largest energy companies in Germany and Europe. It supplies around 5.5 million customers with electricity, gas, water as well as services and products in the areas of infrastructure and energy. The expansion of renewable energies is a cornerstone of the growth strategy and a focus of investment. EnBW will invest around 4 billion euros in the further expansion of wind and solar energy by 2025. By the end of 2025, more than half of the generation portfolio is to consist of renewable energies. This is already having a noticeable effect on reducing CO2 emissions, which EnBW aims to halve by 2030. EnBW is aiming for climate neutrality by 2035.