Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ), one of the world's largest solar companies, announced that it has supplied 636,000 solar modules for the world's largest solar complex in southern Brandenburg, Germany. Canadian Solar provided 148 MW of the system's total 166 MW to its two partners, saferay and GP JOULE. A portion of the system's core output, approximately 78 MW, was implemented by saferay. The system will be able to produce enough green energy for the usage needs of approximately 50,000 homes. The park was opened by Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck on September 24. The inauguration ceremony was held on the premises of the Senftenberg II/III solar power plant.
In his speech, Prime Minister Platzeck thanked the companies involved and said: "Large solar plants, like the Senftenberg and Schipkau installations, play a key role in Germany's energy supply and help accelerate the aspired energy change. Compared to other German states, Brandenburg has a leading position in supporting and promoting renewable energies, earning the state the 'Best State for Renewable Energies' award. This latest solar power plant is another example of Germany being ideally suitable for projects of this dimension, an opinion shared by Andreas Fredrich, Senftenberg's mayor: "Thanks to the large number of former surface mining sites and developed energy grids, our region is a perfect location for large-scale photovoltaic systems."
The Chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar, Dr. Shawn Qu, noted another key point for many communities: "Cities and communities not only profit from the positive environmental impact, they also receive trade tax income from the solar parks - or receive the feed-in tariffs when they operate the parks themselves. In addition, projects like this one also have a positive impact on the local economy. Most construction and operation contracts are awarded to local companies. Therefore, we are happy to have made our contribution to Brandenburg's economic development."
The Senftenberg II/III system was built on 200 hectares of the former Meuro surface mining plant in three months. The premises are property of the Agrargenossenschaft Grossraeschen eG coop. providing space for 330,000 crystalline solar modules. "With the Senftenberg project, we show that large-scale photovoltaic systems are faster to develop and build than any other type of power plant. Even today, in a country with fewer sun hours like Germany, we can produce energy cheaper than offshore wind power systems, for instance," said Dr. Marko Schulz, CEO of saferay GmbH. The project's investment frame of approximately 150 million Euros was provided by three German banks. Saferay holds two thirds of investments and operations.
The solar park development effort was initiated by Berlin-based project development company unlimited energy GmbH. Besides establishing the required legal framework, unlimited energy focused on environmental protection in the plant's design. Torsten Kasch, Managing Director of unlimited energy GmbH, added: "We have established a total of 24 hectares just for the larks alone, outside the PV system. Moreover, the PV module rows are embedded into splendid wind protection belts and green belts that can become a welcoming habitat for birds and other species. Also, in the concept design for area maintenance, there is a strong focus on the protection of plants and animals."