The plant is being installed on six newly-built barn roofs in the Uckerland district in Brandenburg, Germany. The solar experts are installing over 4,000 Conergy P series modules on a total roof area of more than 8,000 square meters. In future they will produce approximately 950,000 kilowatt hours of solar power per year, thus directly supplying the barns with clean energy from their own roofs as well as some 240 additional households in the surroundings. Conergy acts as general contractor and is therefore in charge of all stages from the engineering, planning and construction of the power plant, to the supply of the components.
Conergys long-standing partner SolEnergy GmbH was responsible for developing the project. The company uses direct marketing contracts for solar power to bring agricultural businesses and investors together because according to the new EEG (German Renewable Energy Sources Act) the so-called market integration model applies for roof-mounted plants of sizes between 10 and 1,000 kilowatt peak.
According to this law, even for solar power plants built now, only 90% of their annual energy production will be remunerated starting in 2014. For the remaining 10%, the power plant operator must either market the energy himself or he can opt for automatically receiving the solar market value (stock market value) payment, which currently stands at approximately 0.05 per kilowatt hour.
We are one of the first project developers to react to the new EEGs requirements. Our business model is the best possible scenario for both solar power plant investors and agricultural businesses, said Philip Zidowitz, Managing Director of SolEnergy GmbH.
Its a classic win-win situation: the roof-mounted solar installation supplies the barns with green electricity at a stable price, thus providing the operator long-term planning reliability for a good proportion of his energy costs. At the same time, the investor profits from a guaranteed return through the fixed power purchase agreement with the operator and the EEG remuneration of the remaining energy that the power plant is producing and feeding into the local grid in excess of what the barns consume."
The new large-scale power plant in Uckerland is a particularly good fit for the general production profile of a solar power plant because of the farm’s load profile: a relatively high, constant need for power during the day, particularly in summer. The agricultural business can cover around one third of its total annual power needs from the solar panels on its barn roofs all at a set price agreed in a 20 year contract.
With the changes in the market many new opportunities and business models are emerging in the solar sector, said Stefan Balbierz, Managing Director of Conergy Germany. Direct marketing will play an ever greater role in the future, for investors, as well as for power suppliers and public utilities. But the big beneficiaries are end users, because decentrally generated solar power is well on its way to achieve grid parity.
Renewable solar energy from the roof is already cheaper than conventionally generated grey power from the grid for domestic and first commercial customers. For companies that need a lot of electricity during the day this opens up many new possibilities to reduce their energy costs and make themselves independent from further price increases. The 10% own consumption or direct marketing rate set down in the market integration model is just the beginning.