Europe’s Largest Solar Rooftop Switched On

33,000 solar panels make up what is claimed to be Europe’s biggest rooftop solar array project.

The 8.1 megawatt solar farm was installed in Southern Germany, atop the distribution center of Pfenning Logistics GmbH in Heddesheim.

Spread across the rooftops of two warehouses; the system occupies a total area of eleven hectares. The solar panels will avoid the production of up to 5,171 tonnes of carbon emissions annually and will generate enough power to supply the equivalent of over 1,800 European households.

The plant is the largest self-consumption project in Europe to date says the company that designed and installed it; WIRSOL.

“In this size, we usually build solar parks,” said Dennis Seiberth, WIRSOL’s president of the company’s international large-scale projects unit. “However, we were ambitious and eager to realize the plant within four weeks.” At the end of July, the solar power plant was connected to the grid according to plan.

WIRSOL has installed over 400MW of solar capacity to date. The company installs systems in Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, USA, Turkey, France, United Kingdom, China, Canada, Switzerland, Brazil, the Maldives, Japan and Malaysia.

“Self-consumption” is becoming an increasingly common term associated with residential installations, particularly with incentives such as feed in tariffs being wound back. Self-consumption has also become a primary consideration when designing commercial solar power projects.

According to Australian commercial solar provider Energy Matters, if a business is paying more than 20c/kWh for daytime electricity usage, a system sized to daytime load can provide a payback time of just a few years depending on installation circumstances. After the payback time, the electricity generated is essentially free.

“With solar panels having a serviceable life of decades, this translates to a huge reduction in medium to long term operational costs,” says Energy Matters.