Vertical PV to protect biodiversity at German airport – pv magazine International

An 8.4 kW vertical PV pilot project is now operational at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. The solar panels are arranged vertically to protect the biodiversity of the site. In the final expansion stage, the system will achieve an output of up to 13 MW.

From pv magazine Germany

Fraport AG, the operating company of Frankfurt Airport, has installed another PV system to increase its share of green electricity.

The demonstration system consists of 20 solar modules with a total output of 8.4 kW. In contrast to the existing PV systems at the airport, it is a “fence system” in which the double glass panes are installed vertically.

According to Fraport, the main reason for the vertical arrangement is to protect biodiversity. Due to the low shading of the ground and the unimpeded distribution of precipitation, the disturbance of the vegetation is minimal. At the same time, the system ensures high electricity yields despite the small space requirement, since the sunlight can optimally hit the panels throughout the day. In addition, glare is physically impossible due to the vertical arrangement, according to Fraport. The system was installed by the company Outarky, the frame system comes from Next2Sun.

“In the first demonstration section, we would like to gain experience with the construction and maintenance of the system as well as with the green maintenance all around,” says Marcus Keimling, Head of Network Services at Fraport. “Our own employees will be responsible for this in the future. The test fields provide us with the necessary know-how. However, we will promptly push ahead with the realization of the additional photovoltaic area along the runway and complete it as quickly as possible.”

In the final stage of expansion, the system will extend parallel to the runway over a length of 2,600 meters over almost 26 hectares with a total output of up to 13 MW. Completion is scheduled for the first quarter of 2024.

Solar power from own generation has been part of the power mix of the airport operator Fraport since March 2021. Since then, a PV system with 1.5 MW has been producing solar power on an area of ​​13,000 square meters on the roof of a freight building in CargoCity South. Three more PV systems are to be added to new buildings such as the terminal car park.

According to a recent German study, vertical installations could have a positive impact on stabilizing the national power grid while allowing for greater integration with agricultural activities than traditional ground-mounted PV systems. Scientists found that vertical PV systems could shift solar yield during the winter months to hours of higher demand and supply, thereby reducing solar curtailment.

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