Solar energy from the hall roof
Solar energy is generated on the hall roofs of the Berlin Wholesale Market. The second largest photovoltaic system and, at the same time, the largest so-called “on-the-roof system” was recently placed online in a little ceremony. It was attended by an important visitor: Michael Müller of the SPD, Mayor and Senator for Urban Development and the Environment, took time out of his busy schedule to be there for the pulling of the switch, and praised this “outstanding project”: “It is wonderful that the Berlin Wholesale Market, an investment company of the State of Berlin, is so dedicated.”
Spread over a 39,000 square metre area, the photovoltaic system generates approximately 1,600 megawatt hours of electricity annually. According to Michael Geissler, general manager of the Energieagentur, this could cover the average needs of approximately 600 households while preventing the emissions of 800 tonnes of CO2. This represents a not inconsiderable share of Berlin’s environmental balance.
Berliner Energieagentur is the client, investor and operator of the facility, and commissioned the Berlin solar manufacturer SOLON Energy GmbH to install a total of 5,540 solar modules “made in Germany”. “For us it was very important that all those participating should come from the region,” Wholesale Market general manager Andreas Foidl explained during the ceremony. “Environmental protection also concerns short transport distances.”
Even if the electricity is mainly fed into the Berlin electrical grid, the Wholesale Market directly participates in this facility: “We have been able to set our long-term electricity price with Berliner Energieagentur. This is a benefit that we will naturally be passing on to our tenants,” Petra Cardinal, the Wholesale Market’s general manager, is happy to report. If the market price should surpass that arranged with Berliner Energieagentur, the Wholesale Market can fall back on the system installed on its roofs.
The Berlin Wholesale Market is not the only decentralised electricity provider: Vattenfall, which manages Berlin’s electrical grid, has stated that, including the system on the hall roofs of the Wholesale Market, there are now 5,000 individual small power stations operating in Berlin. The era of a single large power station providing all the electricity in a city is thus nearing its end. The electricity needs of approximately 20,000 households are now being covered by such decentralised feeders as single-family houses, company roofs and the Wholesale Market system.