The history of GP JOULE.
Roots from the countryside, ideas from the future.
2002 was a year of generational change and a symbolic milestone: after completing their studies, Ove Petersen and Heiner Gärtner, who would go on to become the founders of GP Solar and later founders of GP JOULE, took over the control of their respective parents’ agricultural businesses. As qualified agricultural engineers, they wanted to not only carry-on a successful legacy, but also make those operations more competitive for years to come.
In 2003, and after installing a photovoltaic rooftop system on Ove Petersen’s farming operations, the two farmers decided to go down a new route – that of large scale renewable energy. In the same year they started planning the construction of two photovoltaic ground mount plants in their respective ‘backyards’ or hometowns: Reußenköge and Buttenwiesen. The latter project was erected in 2004 and recognized then as the world’s largest thin-film utility-scale installation (5MW), on an area of seven hectares.
A size which was soon surpassed by the construction of the PV ground mount installation in Reußenköge in 2005. By 2008, the two partners had completed biogas and other PV projects with their company GP Energiekonzept, a side project of theirs, which they were managing alongside the day-to-day operations of their agricultural businesses.
In January 2009, after such success, they decided to take advantage of the experiences and knowledge they had gained. GP JOULE was founded, thus turning their efforts into a full time venture. The company was to be named after British physicist James Prescott Joule, whose name was honoured to describe the physical unit of measurement of energy.
In spite of its relative youth, the profitable combination of environmental awareness and cost-effectiveness enabled GP JOULE to acquire rapidly numerous sizeable and influential clients, helping build a strong reputation in Germany and Europe as a reliable partner. The company grew further internationally starting late 2011, with the opening of offices in Toronto (Ontario, Canada) and San Mateo (California, USA). GP JOULE has since built an increasing North American presence and has successfully completed projects in this market from coast to coast. In Germany GP JOULE ‘s operations are split between four locations: its headquarters are located the Schleswig-Holstein town of Reußenköge in Northern Germany, at the Danish border. There are two technical centres in Southern Germany: Buttenwiesen hosts the conceptualization and research and development teams while Geislingen an der Steige power plant focuses on EPC services for photovoltaics, biomass and wind projects. Finally, the subsidiary company H-TEC focused on storage and renewable technology education is located in Lübeck, Northern Germany. GP JOULE today happily employs around 130 employees, all over the world.
The roots of GP JOULE are agricultural.
Left: the old farmers building of the parents of GP JOULE founder Ove Petersen, which is the GP JOULE headquarters nowadays.
Above: Impressions of the new look indoors.