Niederrhein Airport meets 2050 C02 emission target with installation of 60,000 photovoltaic panels

January 8th, 2012 by Richard Lord

The terminal building at Niederrhein Am Airport Wesse (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

If you want to see today a vision of the future of energy supply go to Germany and be awed by the massive deployment of photovoltaic panels and wind turbines.

Guernsey has its Airport 2040 vision.

Weeze or Niederrhein Airport near the town of Weeze in North Rhine-Westphalia, next to the German-Dutch border, has already done now what it needs to do to meet its 2050 carbon emission targets.

Last week the last of 60,000 photovoltaic panels were installed ahead of schedule in the Niederrhein Airport grounds, which was once RAF base Laarbruch.

This airport is now one of the fastest growing civilian airports in Europe, helped by Ryanair, with 2.9 million passengers passing through it in 2010 .

The solar energy installation started in October 2011 with 120 workers and was completed ahead of schedule because of the mild autumn weather.

Baysolar paid the €25 million project cost.

The 60,000 Chinese manufactured photovoltaic panels have a surface area of 87,000 square metres and cover 30 hectares of ground.

Some of the 60,000 photovoltaic panels viewed from the Weese Airport terminal across the airfield (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

The panels have an installed capacity of 14 megawatts and expect to generate 13 GWh per year. This will save carbon dioxide emissions of 8,500 tonnes per year that would have been produced by grid electricity. The electricity produced exceeds the amount of electricity used by the airport.

A line of photovoltaic panels visible from the Weeze airport terminal across the airfield (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

The project benefits from the German Renewable Energy Sources Act, which specifies generous feed-in-tariffs for renewable energy. Modifications to the feed-in-tariffs for 2012 have been published on the German Solar Industry Association website.

The photovoltaic panels are on one side of the airport grounds and are installed around the former RAF hardened concrete aircraft bunkers. They are protected by several high fences and CCTV.

This is the closet view of the photovoltaic panels from a public road (click image to expand – ©RLLord)

A WDR television news broadcast shows the extent of the renewable energy project from the air.

One may question the cost of deploying vast numbers of photovoltaic panels in a location like Germany, but one has to be impressed by the speed with which macro and micro renewable energy technologies are being deployed to reduce reliance on finite fossil fuels.


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