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EnviTec Biogas brings first solar PV array online at Bioenergiepark Forst

In Germany, biogas technology provider and plant operator, EnviTec Biogas AG has brought online its first solar photovoltaic (PV) array on the grounds of its Bioenergiepark Forst biogas and biomethane-to-grid plant in Brandenburg.
"Effective immediately, the 750 kWp solar facility will produce solar power for internal use at our own gas upgrading plant,” said Frank Hinken, CEO at EnviTec Biogas Betriebs GmbH & Co. KG, which operates the Forst gas upgrading plant.

The newly commissioned solar PV array at EnviTec’s Bioenergiepark Forst biogas and biomethane-to-grid plant in Brandenburg, Germany produces solar electricity for the facility’s own needs (photo courtesy EnviTec).

Würzburg-based STEAG Solar Energy Solutions GmbH (SENS) worked with EnviTec as a joint partner in this project. The SENS team planned and implemented the turnkey facility on behalf of Envitec subsidiary Biogas Forst GmbH & Co. KG — and on time, despite difficult working conditions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The project objectives were achieved without exception, of course always in compliance with the currently applicable protective regulations, said Fabian Herr, Head of Projects at SENS, adding his gratitude to all those involved for their “professional commitment” even under these special circumstances.

Plans for additional installations

The project also marks an initial milestone for in-house operations at EnviTec, and there are now plans to equip other biogas plants with a PV facility.

According to EnviTec, biogas plants with gas upgrading offer the perfect conditions for such projects since they have a higher electricity demand.

Apart from ROI considerations, the installation footprint also has to be properly assessed, so we’re currently looking at available ground array space at our other in-house plants, said Frank Hinken.

The centerpiece of Bioenergiepark Forst is a gas upgrading plant with a 700 Nm3 per hour capacity, which has fed almost 65 GWh of green energy into the local gas grid every year since September 2014. This has enabled the delivery of renewable natural gas (RNG) to around 4 000 households.

Increase self-sufficiency

With the newly constructed PV plant, Bioenergiepark Forst is becoming even more sustainable – the PV plant covers part of the electricity required for the gas processing and biogas plant. The roughly 2 500 solar modules installed generate around 740 MWh of electricity per year.

Thanks to the plant’s ideal sizing, up to 98 percent of the power generated is used daily for internal requirements, with any excess power being fed into the public grid.

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