SENS – formerly Gildemeister energy solutions – became part of the STEAG Group in July 2019, and along with it, Sascha Link.
When did you join SENS, and what route have you taken through the company?
I joined SENS (formerly GILDEMEISTER energy solutions) as a trainee in the construction planning section in Würzburg directly after graduating in renewable energies in 2015. Having previously spent several years at the Fraunhofer Institute, where I also wrote my master's thesis on “Simulative investigation of large buffer storage systems in single-family homes dependent on regional wind and solar Peaks”, I had been able to acquire profound knowledge in the field of renewable energies. I started out at SENS in the Utility Scale division, planning ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) systems worldwide. Excellent opportunities for further training meant that as my professional experience increased, I was able to gain expert knowledge in the field of system simulation and substructures for PV systems. With the establishment of the “Energy Systems” business unit, my work now focuses more closely on integrated energy concepts for industrial customers with PV systems, energy storage systems, and energy efficiency and electromobility solutions.
Sascha Link (30) joined the construction planning section at GILDEMEISTER energy solutions following his engineering degree.
How do you rate the chances of photovoltaic systems as a form of sustainable energy generation?
I am absolutely convinced of the future of renewable energy generation, and I'm also involved in voluntary activities to promote a sustainable lifestyle in my spare time. I believe that SENS, as part of STEAG GmbH, has got what it takes to become one of the driving forces in the transformation of the energy industry in the future. In my view, it is extremely important to get the best possible use out of all available options, rather than playing one type of power generation off against another. The old opencast mines in the lignite mining areas, for example, are ideally suited for sustainable renewable energy generation.
“In my view, it is extremely important to get the best possible use out of all available options, rather than playing one type of power generation off against another.”
What does your day-to-day work involve?
I'm now responsible for the entire planning in connection with our roof-mounted PV projects. My tasks are very varied, and can involve anything from simple roof layout plans right through to detailed statics assessments. What is especially challenging is finding the perfect substructure for installing the PV modules on all manner of roofs, and dealing with complex issues in terms of long-term compatibility with the buildings. Being an authorized signatory of the company means that commercial aspects relating to the procurement of substructures for PV systems are also increasingly part of my day-to-day work.
SENS has only recently become part of STEAG. How is the new affiliation with the Group making itself felt at SENS?
Right from the start, we could tell that the new parent company is very interested in the up-and-coming field of photovoltaics and therefore ideally suited to SENS. We are now part of an energy group, which gives us a common understanding of a wide range of issues and the project business in this sector. Without exception, my colleagues and all our customers and long-term partners have reacted positively, as the team and all contacts have remained the same and we now have the opportunity, together with STEAG, to expand our service and product portfolio.
Which projects are you involved in at present?
We now handle around 200 individual projects a year for industrial and commercial customers in the "Energy Systems" business unit, and are involved in exciting topics with our long-standing customers in the food retail industry. We install PV systems on supermarkets belonging to different chains throughout Europe. It's also important to me to maintain the link between business and my scientific roots, which is why I enjoy supervising various student research projects for bachelor and master engineering students in the company. Projects become increasingly heterogeneous and complex when photovoltaics are used in smart grids. Apart from the photovoltaics, what's crucial then is finding the perfect balance with battery storage facilities and variable loads. Here, I am responsible for the technical side of projects on islands in the smart grid, where sustainable water treatment also plays an important role.