Construction Starts at Germany’s Largest Solar Park Without State Funding

PVTIME – EnBW is constructing its “Weesow-Willmersdorf” solar park with an installed output of 187 megawatts on an area covering 164 hectares. The solar park is located almost 26 kilometres northeast of Berlin in Werneuchen, Brandenburg. The park will be able to supply around 50,000 households with environmentally friendly energy through its annual yield of 180 million kilowatt hours of electricity, saving about 129,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. The entire project is due to be commissioned before the end of 2020.

A construction sign on the site shows the key data of the project

“Major photovoltaic projects like this one are just what is needed to push forward renewable energies and the Energiewende in Germany”, says Dirk Güsewell, Head of Generation Portfolio Development at EnBW. “This solar park is our first renewable project without state funding. It also marks a milestone for photovoltaics in Germany and demonstrates that this technology has achieved market maturity.” This is possible because of synergy effects due to the size of the park and the fact that costs in the photovoltaic sector have fallen by more than 80 percent in the last ten years.

“Brandenburg is taking a leading role in the Energiewende because hardly any other German state has pushed forward with the expansion of renewable energies so strongly. EnBW is contributing to the achievement of our climate policy targets with projects such as the Weesow-Willmersdorf solar park”, emphasises Jörg Steinbach, Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour and Energy in Brandenburg. “The project being developed by EnBW demonstrates that renewable energies can be competitive.”

“Climate protection and sustainability have always been given a high priority in Barnim”, explains Daniel Kurth, District Administrator of the Barnim district. “This is why we are even more delighted to remain a leader in the area of climate protection with the new solar park in our district.”

A focus on adding value in the local region

More than 40 companies have been commissioned by EnBW to work on the construction of the solar park. “Adding value locally in the region is important to us”, says Güsewell. There are activities that can be carried out regionally from site management, traffic safety, landscape conservation and manual trades through to disposal work. During the construction phase, a total of up to 150 people will be working at the construction site at the same time. Several employees will be constantly present at the site during the operating phase to handle the maintenance and repair work.

Two transformer stations for around 181 million kilowatt hours of solar electricity

The electricity will be fed into three 110 kilovolt overhead cables operated by E.DIS Netz GmbH. Two new transformer stations will be built to the west and southwest of the park in close vicinity to the high-voltage lines. EnBW is currently laying seven kilometres of cables to the planned transformer station to the southwest of the park in the district of Blumberg. The almost 4-kilometre long connection to the planned transformer station to the west of the park near Börnicke will be completed later.

The around 465,000 solar modules at the park will face south, have a construction height of around three metres and will be installed at an inclination of 20 degrees to the supporting structure. They will be distributed across four solar fields, divided by the local road network which will still be publicly accessible.

The solar power plant has a planned service life of 40 years. This is why EnBW has selected very high-quality, durable components and will ensure that comprehensive quality assurance measures are implemented throughout the entire service life of the park.

Construction and operation will both run in harmony with nature

Ecological supervision commissioned especially for this project will ensure that all construction work is completed in harmony with the local flora and fauna and especially that the “Weesower Luch” nature reserve located to the south of the solar park remains protected.

Alongside the actual technical facilities, the project also includes numerous compensatory and replacement measures for the protection of species and nature. For example, the entire area on and around the solar park will be turned into a grassland habitat for a rich variety of species. As well as extensifying the project areas, the measures will include planting shrubs and trees and also developing hedges and stepping stone biotopes, which will complement the natural habitat found in the neighbouring nature reserve.

EnBW plans to place the solar park into operation in construction stages. “Following the full commissioning and completion of all the construction work, EnBW will also present the solar park to the public next year”, says Thorsten Jörß, Head of Project Development for Photovoltaics at EnBW. EnBW cancelled the planned groundbreaking ceremony on 16 March as a precaution due to the current situation surrounding the Coronavirus in Germany.

Further information on the solar park can be found at www.enbw.com/renewable-energy/solar/solarpark_weesow/