K&W Natural Energy completes 2.7MW PV project on former tar acid disposal site

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K&W Natural Energy has installed a 2.7MW solar park which has been constructed on a former tar acid disposal site in Neukirchen, Germany.

The former 60,000 square metre disposal site underwent 15 years of intensive remediation activities headed by the Federal Government of Germany and the Land of Saxony. As a result, the site is no longer a source of air and soil pollution. However, strict controls on areas that remain contaminated limit the future uses of this land. According to Hanwha SolarOne, the module suppliers for the project, constructing a solar park on this land was one of the most viable and beneficial uses of this site.

“The plant in Neukirchen demonstrates how even contaminated land can be utilised to generate green energy,” said Anke Johannes, Hanwha SolarOne’s Director of Sales in Germany. “Using remediated land for solar projects is also a profitable, future-oriented business strategy, as PV companies are constantly searching for more space to build energy-efficient decentralized production sites.”

Remediation specialist Baufeld was responsible for removing contamination from the site and preparing it for the construction of the solar park. Baufeld has leased the land to solar investor K&W Natural Energy for 20 years, after which the company has an option to extend.

Construction of the plant — which involved the installation of 11,050 240 watt polycrystalline SF 220 poly x-tra PV modules — was completed within a few weeks despite facing several challenges.

Due to the remaining contamination, the former disposal site has been partly sealed below the ground. Consequently, in these sealed areas the solar modules’ substructures could not be fixed by drilling holes but had to be embedded into a concrete foundation on the surface, creating a “swimming” construction.

“In addition to sealed underground areas, the project site has steep hillsides and wetlands as well as tar and concrete grounds,” said Tobias Kahre, Executive Director of K&W Natural Energy. “But we were able to develop solutions according to the site's varied topography. We are very pleased that this challenging site will bring economic gains. Hanwha SolarOne contributed to the project’s success with responsive services and professional support.”

The solar park was connected to the grid in November 2012 and will produce an estimated 2.5 million kWh of electricity every year.

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