Construction begins in Brandenburg: GP JOULE builds 90 MW solar park in Klettwitz

With a total of 300 MW, the "Energiepark Lausitz" is a driver of structural change and sustainable growth

Reußenköge/ Schipkau/ Munich, 6 October 2021
As construction begins in Klettwitz, the municipality of Schipkau, Lausitz (Lusatia) is embarking on a green future. Where once large lignite excavators ate their way through the landscape, the first of three solar parks of the Energiepark Lausitz will generate renewable energy from 2022. In total, a solar capacity of 300 MW is being created here, making it one of the largest solar projects in Germany. The CO2-free electricity generated flows into the public grid, is supplied to direct electricity consumers and is partly converted into green hydrogen. This in turn is made available to local industry as well as the mobility sector.

GP JOULE is the general contractor responsible for the construction of the Lausitz Energy Park with its "Plant Construction - EPC" division, which has been successfully realising ground-mounted solar plants in Europe and North America for over 12 years. GP JOULE EPC deals in particular with the engineering of large-scale plants and thus with the technical planning of the entire plant. In addition, component selection, the choice of and partnership with subcontractors and project implementation play an essential role in this context. In this project, GP JOULE is also responsible for communicating with the grid operator, cooperating with the local authorities in matters of nature conservation and ecological construction monitoring, as well as documentation and compliance with occupational health and safety.

Expertise is what is called for

Even the first section of the "Klettwitz Nord" solar park will be one of the larger ones in Germany, with 183,000 modules and an output of 90 MW. "The project is also remarkable because several renewable forms of energy come together here," reports GP JOULE project manager plant engineering, Simone Leins. This is because the solar park fits into an already existing wind farm. "Sun, wind and hydrogen. That’s the energy mix of the future," says Leins with great enthusiasm. 
It is true that this close proximity of the energy plants requires a more complex plant layout, and the ground also has to be treated with special care, as the park is being built on a former spoil heap that has now been filled in. "Such soil, especially on this scale, has to be dealt with differently than natural subsoil," explains the project manager. But GP JOULE is already experienced in dealing with such conditions. The company has already built solar parks of a similar size on conversion sites in Meuro (also in the municipality of Schipkau, 70 MW) and Ganzlin (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, 65 MW). And GP JOULE has already realised several projects in the area of sectoral cross-linkage, most recently "eFarm" in North Frisia, Germany's largest green hydrogen mobility project.  
The experts also rely on experience when selecting subcontractors. "Long-term cooperation proves its worth in projects whose quality is meant to last. That's why the orders in Klettwitz went primarily to companies that have already proven themselves to be professional and reliable in previous projects," says project manager Leins. Among them are the companies Heinz Bente, Ecotec Germany, Zimmermann P-Stahlbau, Gamma Elektrotechnik and Huawei Technologies Germany.

A project of great significance

"For me, the 'Energiepark Lausitz' project represents an almost unique opportunity within the world of structural change," emphasises Schipkau's mayor Klaus Prietzel. His municipality had given the go-ahead for the ambitious project in December 2020. Construction work has now begun on the first solar park. Commissioning is planned for spring 2022. Work on "Klettwitz Süd" will begin in parallel as early as the beginning of the year. At the same time, planning for the third section "Hochkippe Sallgast" on land belonging to the municipalities of Schipkau, Lichterfeld-Schacksdorf, Sallgast and Lauchhammer is progressing.

In addition to GP JOULE, the project initiators and owners of Energiepark Lausitz are Steinbock EE and Terravent Investments. "It is enormously important to us that the local people are convinced of the project’s usefulness. That’s why we worked closely with the community right from the start," explains Ove Petersen, co-founder and CEO of the GP JOULE Group. "With their unanimous vote in December 2020, the community has shown that they want to join us on the path to a prosperous, sustainable future. And this makes us very happy." 

The project is also meeting with great interest by the economic environment. "The first companies have already expressed their interest in purchasing electricity or hydrogen," confirms André Steinau, head of the responsible GP JOULE Think Hydrogen department. "This is also a very good starting point for developing a mobility infrastructure with hydrogen”. In addition to industry, the targeted customer spectrum also includes the Lausitzring, haulage companies and public transport, which can operate emission-free buses. 

Founded in 2009 based on the belief that a 100 per cent renewable energy supply is feasible, GP JOULE is now a system provider for integrated energy solutions from solar, wind and biomass power as well as being a partner at the supply level for electricity, heat, hydrogen and electromobility. This makes GP JOULE a pioneering company in the area of cross-sector linkage. Some 400 people work for the medium-sized group of companies in Germany, Europe, and North America. GP JOULE holds the 2019 Schleswig-Holstein Business Environmental Award.

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