In Frauenfeld, Switzerland, logistics firm Rieser + Vetter blanketed the roof of their distribution center with solar panels. This is one of the largest Swiss commercial rooftop PV systems in an effort offset carbon emissions and benefit from remuneration via a feed-in tariff.
The photos of the installation are seriously impressive, while most businesses throw a few token panels up, this is a dramatic representation of a business going all-in.
Rieser + Vetter transport large and bulky goods like furniture using trucks. While EV trucks are coming, right now the business opted to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel-powered trucks with rooftop solar.
Like Australia, Switzerland uses a feed-in tariff system for eletricity generation. This means the solar generated is fed back into the grid and the power made offsets their substantial operating costs.
To attempt a project of this scale, you need a great partner and Fuchs Wohnbau AG Solartechnik was selected. They helped on the design, engineering and construction of the project which included a massive 8,293 LG solar modules.
To turn that solar power into usable power, they used 46 Delta RPI M50A inverters (each with a rated power output of 55 kVA). These were largely chosen thanks to their high max efficiency of 98.6%.
Once you’ve determined you need 46 inverters, the next question is where to put them all. It was decided these would be placed along several external walls of the warehouse. Thanks to an aluminium chassis and an IP65 rating, they are protected from the sometimes harsh environment.
“Delta inverters were chosen due to the compact form factor of the units with a very high power output of 55 kWs. In addition, the good reputation of Delta as a financially viable manufacturer gives us confidence that they will be around in the long term to support their inverters for the entire guarantee period.”According to Erich Stutz, the Solar Installation Manager at Fuchs Wohnbau AG
A project of this scale doesn’t happen overnight, in fact, this started development in April 2016 and went online the following year.
The new solar system now generates around 2.1 GWh of electricity per year, and Rieser + Vetter expect to reduce their carbon footprint by about 1,688 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
The scale of this project is seriously impressive, which made me wonder if its anywhere close to the biggest solar rooftop installation in the world. The answer is no. For that, you need to head to India.
This is the largest solar rooftop plant in India at single industrial premises. Arvind Limited – Santej uses not 8,000, but more than 46,000 solar modules, and over 180 inverters, far more than the 46 used here. It produces 16.2MW, almost 7 times what this Switzerland installation does.
Either way, this is a seriously impressive effort and perhaps a window into the future of how we build buildings to power the operations inside them.