Rickertsreute/Würzburg/Essen. In Rickertsreute in the Lake Constance district of Baden-Württemberg, Southern Germany, STEAG Solar Energy Solutions GmbH is implementing a large-scale solar project consisting of a ground-mounted PV system, two rooftop systems, and a large storage facility to temporarily store the green electricity generated. The annual generation calculated at 15 gigawatt hours (GWh) will enable the region to cut its carbon emissions by 7,000 metric tons a year in the future.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the ambitious project - which in addition to generating regenerative energy for several thousand people in the region also focuses on biodiversity and animal husbandry appropriate to individual species - took place on Hubert-Alexander Bechinger’s organic farm on the outskirts of Rickertsreute on Wednesday, June 15.
The system is being built for the investor Bechinger e-Energie GmbH. The ground-mounted PV system will be constructed in a way that flowers, grasses and herbs that would not stand a chance if the land were to be cultivated conventionally will in future be able to grow on the meadow below. At the same time, the solar modules will provide additional protection through shading and reduce evaporation. And finally, a flock of sheep will be on hand in the future to tend to the grass.
Solar project for sustainable energy supply in the region
“Sustainability and biodiversity have long been an essential part of our activities here at the organic farm,” says Hubert-Alexander Bechinger, Managing Director of Bechinger e-Energie GmbH and owner of Rickertsreute organic farm. “The next logical step following on from our bee-friendly wildflower meadows and mixed woodlands was clear: We need to make our energy consumption more sustainable.”
To implement the project, Hubert-Alexander Bechinger is drawing on the experience and expertise of SENS. In coordination with the municipality, the Zweckverband Breitband-Bodenseekreis – a special-purpose association for broadband in the region – and the municipal utility Stadtwerke am See, the Würzburg-based PV specialists will not only build the PV systems and storage unit, but will also take charge of constructing the medium-voltage cable route for connecting the system to the grid. This some 2.5 kilometer-long line will distribute the locally generated green power among the communities in the district.
Particularly powerful PV modules in use
The groundbreaking ceremony marks the first step in putting the 12-hectare ground-mounted PV system into effect. Besides the benefits for local flora and fauna, the facility is also characterized by the use of particularly high-yielding bifacial modules. This means that not only the direct incidence of light on the front of the modules is converted into energy, but also the indirect, reflected solar radiation on the back of the modules.
This gives the system a total capacity of 12 megawatts (MWp). The plan is to start feeding green power into the local grid in October. In addition, two rooftop PV systems on the farm’s barns will provide a further 307 kilowatts (KWp). Together, all three facilities will generate 15 GWh of green electricity per year, which – in purely arithmetical terms – can provide a year’s supply of power to around 3,500 to 4,000 average households and save 7,000 tons of carbon emissions on a lasting basis.
Completion by February 2023
The entire system, including an energy storage unit with a capacity of up to 10 megawatt hours (MWh), is scheduled to go into operation by February 2023.
SENS implementing the project as general contractor
“This project is a special undertaking not only for the Lake Constance region but also for SENS. It enables us to demonstrate our core competence as a partner in implementing complex projects with several interconnected technologies and, by combining PV systems and a storage system, to put a regionally unique project into practice,” SENS COO Fabian Herr explains. In the coming months, he continues, the SENS team will now ensure that the Lake Constance district can benefit from the locally generated renewable energy as quickly as possible.
The press photo shows (from left to right):
Wolfgang Heine (Managing Director of the Upper Swabia-Lake Constance Regional Association), Christian Böhm (project partner Laoco), local councillor Markus Müller, Mayor Frank Amann, Stefan Böhm (Sieber Consulting), builder and investor Hubert Bechinger, Georg Waschheim (VR-Bank), Thomas Vöhringer (Project Manager Sens) and Tim Müller (Tricera Energie).