A ground-mounted PV plant has just been brought online on the grounds of Bioenergiepark Forst in Brandenburg, Germany. Würzburg-based STEAG Solar Energy Solutions GmbH (SENS) worked with the biogas all-rounder from Lower Saxony as a joint partner in this project.
“Effective immediately, the 750 kWp solar facility will produce solar power for internal use at our own gas upgrading plant,” explains Frank Hinken, CEO at EnviTec Biogas Betriebs GmbH & Co., which operates the Forst gas upgrading plant.
The STEAG Solar Energy Solutions team planned and implemented the turnkey facility on behalf of Biogas Forst GmbH & Co. -- and right on time, despite difficult working conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The project objectives were achieved without exception, of course always in compliance with the currently applicable protective regulations," says Fabian Herr, head of projects at SENS.
The project also marks an initial milestone for in-house operations at EnviTec Biogas (which also owns Biogas Forst GmbH & Co. KG) and there are now plans to equip other biogas plants with a PV facility. Biogas plants with gas upgrading offer the perfect conditions for such projects, since they have a higher electricity demand.
“Apart from ROI considerations, the installation footprint also has to be properly assessed, so we’re currently looking at available ground array space at our other in-house plants,” Hinken adds.
The centrepiece of Bioenergiepark Forst is a gas upgrading plant with a 700 normal cubic meter capacity, which has fed around 65,000 MWh of green energy into the local gas grid every year since September 2014. This has enabled the delivery of renewable natural gas to around 4,000 households. With the newly constructed PV plant, the bioenergy park is becoming even more sustainable. The PV plant covers part of the energy required for the gas processing and biogas plant, so that the bioenergy park can dispense with significant amounts of conventionally generated electricity. The roughly 2,500 solar modules installed generate around 740 MWh per year. Thanks to the plant’s ideal sizing, up to 98% of the energy generated is used daily for internal requirements, with any excess power being fed into the public grid.
Photo: The PV plant in Forst produces solar electricity for the biogas plant's own needs.