Vertical PV to protect biodiversity at German airport


From pv magazine Germany

Fraport AG, the company operating the Frankfurt Airport, has deployed another PV system to increase its share of green electricity.

The demonstration array features 20 solar modules with a combined capacity of 8.4 kW. In contrast to the existing PV systems at the airport, this is a “fence system,” with the double-glass panels installed vertically.

According to Fraport, the main reason for the vertical arrangement is to protect biodiversity. Due to the minimal shading of the ground and the unimpeded distribution of precipitation, the impact on vegetation is minimal. At the same time, the system ensures high electricity yields, despite the small amount of space it takes up, as sunlight can hit the panels optimally all day long. In addition, the vertical arrangement means that glare is physically impossible, Fraport said. The company Outarky installed the system, the frame system is from Next2Sun.

“In the first demonstration section, we would like to gain experience with the construction and maintenance of the system as well as with the green care all around,” said Marcus Keimling, head of network services at Fraport. “Our own staff will be responsible for this in the future. The test fields provide us with the necessary expertise. However, we will soon move on to realizing the additional photovoltaic area along the runway and will complete this as quickly as possible.”

In the final stage of expansion, the system will extend parallel to the runway over a length of 2,600 meters, covering almost 26 hectares, with a total output of up to 13 MW. Completion is scheduled for the first quarter of 2024.

Solar power from own generation has been included in the power mix of the airport operator Fraport since March 2021. Since then, a PV system with 1.5 MW has been producing solar power on an area of ​​13,000 square meters on the roof of a freight hall in CargoCity South. Three more PV systems are to be added to new buildings such as the multi-level car park for the terminal.

According to a recent German study, vertical installations could have a beneficial effect in stabilizing the national grid, while allowing greater integration with agricultural activities than with conventional ground-mounted PV plants. The scientists found that vertical PV systems could shift solar yield into hours of higher electricity demand and more electricity supply in the winter months, reducing solar curtailment.

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