German Solar PV Market ( Solar Thermal Magazine ) – Thalheim / Niebüll / Neustadt (Dosse), Germany, 9 July 2014 – Political frameworks have made the building of large Solar Photovoltaic (PV) power plants in Germany a real challenge at least since the end of 2013. Against this background, it comes as a surprise that a 4,4 MW PV park has recently been connected to the grid in northern Germany.
Hanwha Q CELLS, headquartered in Germany, has supplied more than 17,000 of its Q.
PRO 255 Wp modules for the solar plant. Thus Europe’s largest PV provider is further expanding its footprint in the German market. The ground-mounted system in the federal state of Brandenburg has been constructed and grid-connected in only 4 weeks. The utility-scale plant has been developed by the Wattmanufactur – Osterhof Group which is also bearing the investment.
The company is headquartered in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein. The ground-mounted system has been completed on a former rail-freight terminal site near a substation along the high-speed railroad between Hamburg and Berlin. The plant is expected to provide clean solar power for around 1,300 local households.
Module quality is a key component of profitable solar parks
Next to inverters, mounting systems and cables the quality of the modules used is key to the economics of a solar park.
When it comes to modules it´s easy to run into mistakes – it starts with the plug, goes to the sheet and ends with the cells,” says Hauke Nissen, MD of the Wattmanufactur GmbH & Co. KG. ”The park is supposed to remain operational for a long time. We are involved in Operations & Maintenance (O&M) and naturally we are highly interested in smooth operations of the park.
“Above all, we have chosen Q CELLS modules in order to ensure the ROI. And we were looking for a provider of reliable modules who will still be with us in a few years from now,” underlines Nissen. The project developer whose key market is Germany has engaged a laboratory to test some module samples. „We wanted to get a feeling for the materials and the potential yield as well as for the product’s durability. I can confirm the high quality of the Q CELLS modules,” outlines Nissen. Additional factors that put Q CELLS ahead of its competition were the superior low-light behavior of the modules, reliability in supply and investment security.
Challenge: Constructing solar plants in Germany
“Who is still constructing power plants in Germany? The ROI span is very tight,“ says Nissen.
We expect the power plant to run for 30 years and even to produce electricity beyond that. After 20 years we are going to be able to sell the electricity, e. g. to the German railway. And the energy won’t be cheaper then.
Matthias Meyn, Key Account Manager at Hanwha Q CELLS, is glad “that solar power plants using European modules are still possible in Germany. The PV park and EU module supply are further proof of that.“ Michael Geib, Head of Sales for Germany, Austria and Switzerland at Hanwha Q CELLS adds: “Q CELLS is continuously gaining market share in the shrinking German PV market.“
Background: Renewable Energy Act and solar power plants
The power plant solutions business has taken a nose-dive last year. According to the German Solar Industry Association the installed capacity of power plants in the megawatt range has shrinked by 64% in 2013 compared to the previous year. According to the Renewable Energy Act the FiT for ground-mounted systems adds up close to 9 cent for the moment. Since 2012 the refundable installed capacity is limited to the extent of 10 MW. As a result investments in solar power plants in Germany lack profitability in most cases.