Werneuchen. EnBW is constructing the largest solar park without state funding to date in Germany with an output of 187 megawatts, located almost 26 kilometres northeast of Berlin in Werneuchen, Brandenburg. The XXL solar park is due to be placed into operation by the end of the year. The first 18,000 solar modules from the company Trina Solar have arrived at the construction site for the Weesow-Willmersdorf solar park. The construction site covers an area of 164 hectares.
EnBW officially started construction in the middle of March and this week the “sample table” was fitted with 156 solar modules. The “sample table” passed EnBW’s quality control tests and will now be used as a template for the installation of the around 12,000 other “tables”. More than 25,000 posts for the substructure have been rammed into the ground to date. This is equivalent to about a quarter of the area. The remaining installation work for the substructure and the fitting of the solar modules will now follow step by step.
The cables for the grid connections to the solar park – around seven kilometres of cables to the transformer station planned at the southwest of the park near Blumberg and almost four kilometres to the transformer station to the west of the park near Börnicke – are almost finished. The foundations for the transformer station in Börnicke have been laid and the masts are currently undergoing reconstruction. The operating building for the transformer station in Blumberg that will later house the switchgear has already been completed.
EnBW has already laid around 120 kilometres of cables within the solar park in the ground – and has thus completed about half of the internal cabling at the park. Materials can be transported to their intended location via a 6.6 kilometre network of paths within the construction site.
Up to 150 workers on site at the same time
More than 40 companies have been commissioned by EnBW to work on the construction of the solar park. It is possible that up to 150 workers will be working at the building site at the same time during the construction phase. Due to the phased work steps, the employees are distributed over the 164 hectares construction site. The workers have to observe strict rules due to the current situation with the coronavirus. “Coordinating the logistics on a large construction site is in itself a challenge. However, the procurement is also very complex during the coronavirus pandemic. We have constantly been confronted with new challenges but so far we have managed to overcome them all”, explains Stefan Lederer, EnBW Project Manager. For example, screws come from Turkey, cables partly from Croatia, and even construction site employees have travelled from abroad especially for this purpose.
EnBW also places value on regional value creation. “There are also numerous activities in this major project that can be carried out by regional companies, from site management, traffic safety, landscape conservation and manual trades through to disposal work”, says Lederer.
EnBW anticipates that the first kilowatt hour of electricity will be fed into the grid in late summer, while full commissioning of the solar park is expected by the end of the year. The solar park will generate around 180 million kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to supply around 50,000 households with environmentally friendly energy. And it will continue to generate this amount of electricity for the next 40 years – which is how long EnBW plans to operate the photovoltaic power plant. Several employees will be constantly present at the site during the operating phase to handle the maintenance and repair work. In addition, the solar park will be connected to the EnBW control centre in Barhöft, which will monitor the technical equipment at the park around the clock.
Alongside the purely technical facilities, the project also includes numerous compensatory and replacement measures for the protection of nature and species. For example, the entire area on and around the solar park will be turned into a grassland habitat for a rich variety of species. As well as extensifying the project areas, the measures will include planting shrubs and trees and also developing hedges and stepping stone biotopes, which will complement the natural habitat found in the neighbouring area.
Numerous marketing options
Around 465,000 solar modules will be installed in total. The electricity generated by these modules will help to avoid around 129,000 tonnes of CO₂ per year. “Large photovoltaic projects like this one are needed to push forward the Energiewende. The Weesow-Willmersdorf solar park thus represents a milestone for the Energiewende”, emphasises Thorsten Jörß, Head of Project Development for Photovoltaics at EnBW and Managing Director of the Weesow-Willmersdorf solar park. “This is something we firmly believe in and the project also demonstrates that renewable energies are competitive”, says Jörß.
EnBW is realising the project without funding and plans to market the electricity generated at the park itself. “We believe that we have a number of different options for marketing the electricity”, explains Jörß. For example, it could be supplied to distribution customers or sold either on the market or as part of one or more long-term power purchase agreements (PPA). "We are convinced that solar energy is competitive", continues Jörß.