Let the sun shine
2013-06-13 | In keeping with our GreenTech philosophy, ebm-papst France considered it only a natural and fair duty in our energy development scheme to install some photovoltaic panels on the plant facade. With the belated official inauguration ceremony on 5 June 2013, we celebrated two years of successful operation.
Our building facades are equipped with 56 panels of 5.72 m2 each:
- 40 panels on the South facade produce up to 14,400 kWh/year
- 8 panels on the East facade produce up to 2,880 kWh/year
- 8 panels on the West facade produce up to 2,880 kWh/year
The photovoltaic power of our installation amounts to 360 kWp per panel; this kilowatt-peak (kWp) refers to the potential power generation for a given sunshine period when the panel gets optimal conditions: ideal orientation, no shade, etc.
The power of a photovoltaic panel in kW measures its capability to produce electricity. It is a technical characteristic depending only on the panel as such and not on the place where it is mounted. The electrical power is determined by the material of the photovoltaic panel and by its dimensions. The technology used for our panels is the amorphous silicon cell technology.
Therefore, the generated current is direct current (DC) and an inverter must be added to get alternating current (AC). 5 inverters from SMA in type SB 3000, 3003 and 4600 are mounted for the 3 South panels, 1 West panel and 1 East panel ; these inverters are of course equipped with our ebm-papst compact fans type 3312.
From December 2011 to December 2012, our photovoltaic system allowed us to produce 15,744 kWh, which – if generated in the conventional way- would have translated into 1.417 tons of CO2.*
This production represents 7% of the total energy consumption of our plant in Obernai for that period. Of course, the production varies with the period of sunshine that we get. In our latitudes, the production average is estimated from 1,000 to 1,200 W/m2. At the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, energy generation dropped due to the low sunshine periods at the time.
Interest in photovoltaic panels is getting stronger and investing in them pays off in very short time, so naturally we hope that this eco-friendly project will be copied by other companies here, by our customers or partners, resulting in a higher number of green campaigns on our blue planet.
*In France, one kWh corresponds to 0.09 kg of CO2 Source: www.econologie.com