Harness the Power of the Sun!

A Major step towards sustainable Garden Centers

The energy transition is one of the biggest topical issues today, and just as big is the interest in future-proof technologies, especially photovoltaics (PV).

Building regulations around PV are progressively changing. Some German federal states are already making PV installations compulsory in new builds. In Baden-Württemberg, for instance, new non-residential buildings will be required to install PV systems on their roofs from 2022, while in North Rhine-Westphalia, it will also be mandatory for car parks with more than 35 bays to have PV facilities from 2022. Equally interesting is the change to the surcharge on PV self-consumption mandated by the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG), with the threshold being increased to 30 kWp.

In addition to regulatory obligations, investing in a PV system also makes good financial and environmental sense. Sharp rises in electricity prices and falling investment costs for PV systems make generating your own solar power look increasingly attractive!

THERE ARE ONLY BENEFITS WITH PV SYSTEMS. THEY:

  • Reduce your energy bills with your own solar power
  • Generate electricity locally, removing long distances and transmission loss
  • Have comparatively low operation and maintenance costs
  • Have zero-carbon production
  • Have a long service life of 20 years or more
  • Can be combined with other technologies to optimise benefits, such as hybrid heating where the solar energy powers heat pumps 
  • Increase your property value
  • Guarantee your power supply in the event of a network outage (if backup storage is installed)

There are major limitations to installing PV systems on greenhouses purely used for production, but state-of-the-art garden centers, with warehouse, boutique and café areas, have enough space to fit PV systems on their roofs. Since the power generated by these systems can often be used straightaway (for lighting, heating, catering, possibly cooling, etc.), it won’t take long to realise that photovoltaics are a wise investment. 

Garden centers have panelled roofs that are ideal for covering with roof-mounted PV modules, specifically the areas with solid roofs, such as the checkout, florist and storage areas. Roof-integrated solutions are usually counter-productive (insulating glass with a PV system restricts light from getting through but allows more thermal energy in both directions) and are considerably more expensive than off-the-shelf frame modules.

At the recently opened, XXL garden center Intratuin Ostmann, around 35% of the roof over the warm section has been fitted with PV modules. Agribusiness manager Alexander Maus, who is tasked with expanding PV facilities at Ostmann garden centers, is confident that the solar power generated will cover up to two-thirds of a garden center’s electricity use. However, you can only achieve this level of self-sufficiency with on site battery storage, which temporarily stores excess energy and makes it available to use when there is less daylight or at night. Ostmann, for instance, has a 150 kWh battery to store energy. In the event of a power outage, the fully charged battery could power the garden center for one to two hours. Yet another benefit! At the moment, these are model calculations based on empirical data, but Rainer Ostmann, who

At the moment, these are model calculations based on empirical data, but Rainer Ostmann, who owns a total of six garden centers in northern Germany, says that one of his 
smaller centers in Bad Zwischenahn managed to cut its electricity bill by 80% thanks to its PV system. This system, with 43 kWp installed capacity, has the potential to generate enough power to cover the building’s energy needs exactly in ideal conditions. 

As a direct comparison, this would mean that his largest garden center to date could make savings of up to 40–50% on average. With a footprint of almost 10,000 m², Ostmann Oldenburg should have made its money back in savings in around eight years based on these model calculations. 

There are more than financial and environmental reasons for using PV: we also need to meet society’s expectations for more sustainable lifestyles. In the spirit of making your good deeds known, customers can experience this sustainability first hand: the garden center’s parking spaces harvest solar energy, which is fed straight into the electric car charging stations while customers shop and enjoy the garden center at their leisure.

Generating green power on your own roof will soon prove to be the most financially prudent solution you can choose.

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