KIT has installed the largest photovoltaics (PV) facility for own consumption in Germany and produces energy from renewable sources for its own supply.
The new PV facility for own consumption represents KIT’s investment in the future. Increasing energy costs presently are a big burden for all research institutions, particularly for research using large-scale devices. By using renewable energy sources, KIT can sustainably limit and cut its power costs: In a first phase, PV modules of about 1 MW power have been installed and commissioned on the KIT premises. Over a period of one year, about 2% of KIT’s power consumption will be covered by this facility. In total, about EUR 1.5 million are invested. Annual costs for energy supply will be reduced by about EUR 200,000. The facility will have a service life of about 20 years.
The facility will not only be used to cover own power consumption, but also to conduct research. Solar modules of the latest state of the art, such as glass-glass modules, are being studied with respect to their energy yield and ageing behavior under real operation conditions. Besides, different types of converters will be compared, amongst others, with regard to efficiency. Research will also focus on how the angle of inclination and direction of the modules influences the production of solar power. The objective is to develop regenerative energy systems of increased energy efficiency and longer service life of up to 30 years. In the infrastructure, novel electrical storage systems, intelligent power electronics and system control will be integrated to a “solar power storage park” and studied. Cooperation partners are SOLARWATT and Kostal.
Germany's largest solar storage park could thus be the answer to the essential questions of the future: Which technologies will contribute to the success of the German energy turnaround? How do we protect our innovative lead in international competition? One possible answer can be provided by Germany’s largest solar power storage park. Solar cells, batteries and inverters are operated together with the purpose of storing solar electricity and making it available anytime. Controlled by novel forecasting and regulation processes, the batteries store the electricity from the sun, in this way eliminating noon-time peak generation. The electricity stored can then be delivered on demand, for instance, in the evenings, at night or in the morning. Achieving a complete balance of electricity generation and demand would be an important building block for the energy turnaround.
The research facility contains a setup of more than 100 different systems configurations differing, for instance, in their east-west orientation, inclination or technical components. Performance data are logged and analyzed continuously. Scientific evaluation will show which system configurations are compatible with the power grid and cost-effective. It will be analyzed which advantages the KIT orientation has compared to a common orientation in Germany (inclination: 30°, orientation: south).
The new solar power storage plant also produces economic benefits in addition to gains in scientific knowledge: The electricity generated in scientific operation is used on KIT Campus North to run large scientific installations.
Contact: BBA/M.Sc. Nina Munzke