Solar energy for Essen’s drinking water supplies
Essen/Würzburg. For Wassergewinnung Essen GmbH, a subsidiary of the Stadtwerke Essen AG and Gelsenwasser AG municipal companies, sustainability and the conservation of resources are central cornerstones of its activities. The most recent project of the company, which supplies around one million people in its catchment area with drinking water every day, shows that these principles are put into practice. Supported by the team from STEAG Solar Energy Solutions (SENS), the Essen water supply company has entered the field of green electricity generation by means of photovoltaics.
A PV system with an output of around 200 kilowatts (kWp) has now been installed on the roof of the waterworks in Essen-Überruhr. In future, 608 solar panels with a total surface area of almost 2,000 m2 will produce around 170,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green electricity per year. This means annual CO2 savings of over 91 tonnes. By comparison, this amount is roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of 13 medium-sized cars driving 50,000 km per year.
Launch of the company’s own power generation
For the Essen water production facility this completed measure is a pilot project, with further installations to follow: "We intend to generate a growing proportion of our electricity locally here from renewable energies. This fits in perfectly with our approach, which is geared towards environmental compatibility and resource conservation," explains Tobias Grau, Commercial Manager of Wassergewinnung Essen GmbH. "Moreover, the power we generate here is more than cost-effective, so that ecology and economy go hand in hand".
The calculations of the SENS experts had already shown in advance the enormous savings potential that the installation of the PV system would offer the Essen water supply company. The Würzburg-based provider of renewable energy services had been successful in the tendering process and was able to make an impact in particular with a well thought-out overall package
"At this point, we are particularly pleased that we were successful in the award procedure. After all, Essen isn't just any old city but the headquarters of our parent company", says Moritz Wickert, Head of Energy Systems at SENS.
Drinking water protection and the coronavirus no obstacles
The starting signal for the construction work was given on schedule in April. The system will officially go into operation as early as the end of June - and this despite challenging conditions due to the coronavirus crisis and of course in compliance with all the applicable social-distancing and hygiene measures. During the installation work on the perimeter of such critical infrastructure, the special requirements of drinking water protection also had to be ensured. "The cooperation with the people responsible for the Essen water supply was close and helpful, and ensured that everything ran smoothly," says Moritz Wickert, summarising the project from the point of view of SENS.
Caption:(from left to right): Gregor Langenberg (Werkleiter), Samuel Kleine (Bereich Elektrotechnik), Tobias Grau (kaufmännischer Geschäftsführer sowie Leiter Finanzen der Stadtwerke Essen) sowie Moritz Wickert (Head of Energy Systems bei STEAG Solar Energy Solutions)