EISENBACH, 20.11.2023 – With the opening of the new solar park, the Franz Morat Group is taking an important step towards sustainability. The ground-mounted PV system at the company’s headquarters in Eisenbach is not only a milestone for the company, but also an enrichment for the community of Eisenbach and the region.
Ceremonial opening with representatives from business and politics
For Gökhan Balkis, Managing Director of the Franz Morat Group, the commissioning of the solar park was a particularly pleasing milestone. The solar park on the south side of the company premises was officially inaugurated together with Martin Barth (First District Officer of the district and Deputy District Administrator), Eisenbach Mayor Karlheinz Rontke and Managing Director Michael Rieber from iAccess Energy.
Just under three years passed from the initial presentation of the idea to the district administration office to the opening of the solar park, which covers a total area of around 9,000 m² and will cover around 10% of the electricity consumption of the family-owned company at its headquarters in Eisenbach. The ground-mounted PV system consists of 1,538 PV modules and delivers an installed output of 1,000 kWp.
Planning for the solar park started in 2021
The project was presented to District Administrator Dorothea Störr-Ritter in April 2021. Around six months later, the application for a preliminary building permit was submitted and presented to the Eisenbach municipal council, which approved the project. After the feed-in confirmation and the granting of the preliminary building permit in March 2022, detailed planning began in close coordination with iAccess. The building application was finally submitted in January 2023. Once planning permission was granted in June 2023, everything went very quickly.
Looking back on the intensive planning and approval phase, Managing Director Balkis expresses his thanks to the regional political representatives: “Ms. Störr-Ritter promoted the project right from the start. Mr. Barth and Mr. Rontke also supported us throughout the entire project.” At the same time, Balkis emphasizes that the implementation from the idea to the inauguration nevertheless took almost three years. “The construction time was only two and a half months. If everyone is talking about renewable energies and energy transformation, comparable projects must be accelerated in the future,” he appeals to politicians. In order to pave the way for other companies in the region to become energy-conscious, sustainable and regenerative businesses, shorter decision-making paths and simplified processes are essential.
Franz Morat Group solar park is a flagship project for the region
An analysis of the district’s potential also revealed that the power of the sun plays a central role in energy generation. According to Martin Barth, photovoltaics has the greatest potential in the region with its seven climate zones. As a representative of the district administration, he praised the Franz Morat Group’s commitment to sustainable business practices. As a remarkable point, he notes that the decision for the PV system was made long before the war in Ukraine and the resulting supply insecurity and increase in electricity prices. “More forward-looking decisions need to be made and innovations actively tackled instead of just reacting to external conditions,” emphasizes Barth, who sees the Franz Morat Group’s solar park as a flagship project with radiance for the region. “As far as I know, the new PV system in Eisenbach is the largest solar park at this height, the largest, highest solar park in the district, so to speak,” reports Barth.
Mayor Karlheinz Rontke is also pleased about the expansion of the traditional company on the south side of his municipality. “Together, we want to achieve climate change and climate targets. Counteracting climate change is already taking place here and now with the opening of the Franz Morat Group’s solar park,” says Rontke, who sees the solar park as a prime example of medium-sized companies taking responsibility for the sustainability and climate-friendliness of production.
No ordinary PV park
The statics posed a particular challenge in the early construction phase: Due to the altitude at almost 1,000 meters above sea level and the expected high snow load, the construction project was subject to special requirements for the substructure. Michael Rieber, Managing Director of iAccess Energy, remembers the intensive construction phase well. “The PV modules can withstand 700 kilos per square meter of additional load thanks to the robust substructure,” explains Rieber. The technical challenges and the location factor in the Black Forest made the project a particularly exciting one for the Freiburg-based company, according to the solar engineer.
Despite special requirements for the system’s scaffolding, the construction team was able to meet the tight schedule. The final building permit was not issued until June 19 of this year. Construction work began just three weeks later. In total, just 21 calendar weeks passed between the building permit and the opening of the photovoltaic park. In this short time, the former parking lot was demolished, the area was re-measured, the PV system was installed and the medium voltage and telecontrol technology was set up. Commissioning, certification and opening in November 2023 will officially conclude the construction phase of the project.
Strong for the future, strong for the region
The solar park will not only generate around 10% of the energy required by the company using home-made green electricity but also offer a degree of independence from electricity providers. At the same time, the solar park strengthens the Upper Black Forest region. If more electricity is generated by the solar panels than is directly consumed, this is fed into the electricity grid of the municipality of Eisenbach. The residents of Eisenbach benefit from regional green electricity from solar energy, especially at weekends or on public holidays when there is no or only limited production on the company premises.