SMA Solar Technology AG, parent company of US subsidiary SMA AmericaInc., has announced the opening of its 193,000sq.foot solar inverterfactory in Kassel, Germany.
With the new facility, SMA hasincreased its production capacity to four gigawatts and is continuingto expand its successful strategy of scalability to meet demand for itspopular line of solar inverters.
Solar inverters are the keycomponent in a solar power system that converts direct-current powergenerated by solar panels into usable household power.
Inaddition to being the world’s largest solar inverter manufacturingsite, the plant is also pioneering the concept of C02 neutralindustrial production by utilizing a low-energy building concept, highefficiency and renewable energy.
"The inverter — the heart ofevery photovoltaic system — significantly contributes to anemissions-free energy supply,” said Günther Cramer, CEO of SMA SolarTechnology AG. "With our CO2 neutral inverter manufacturing, we areshowing that advanced industrial production can be accomplished with asmall environmental footprint.”
“The new manufacturing plant,with a capacity of up to four gigawatts, will allow SMA and itssubsidiaries to match industry growth and global demand for its solarinverters,” said Jurgen Krehnke, president and general manager of SMAAmerica.
“It also demonstrates that world-class, CO2 neutralindustrial production is both possible and economical using today’sexisting technologies.”
C02 neutral production is achievedthrough minimizing energy consumption and maximizing operatingefficiencies through a low-energy building concept, the optimal use ofdaylight, innovative heating and cooling systems, and renewable energy.
Electricalpower is derived from a building-integrated 1.1 megawatt PV system andan onsite biogas plant. The biogas plant satisfies a portion of thefactory’s basic heating requirement with additional heat provided by alocal waste incineration facility.
Excess heat from anelectric compressor that provides compressed air for various tools andequipment is also recycled into the ventilation system.
Allheat sources are connected to a hot water tank, which helps regulatethe system and enables continuous usage. Cooling is furnished throughtwo systems, including an absorption refrigerator driven by the excessheat generated by the biogas plant and an electric back-up system.
Inorder to completely satisfy the site’s energy requirements, renewableenergy is purchased from nearby sources. After the final constructionphase, the CO2 balance will be equalized through additional PVinstallations, eliminating the need for additional utility purchases.
Aspart of the CO2 neutral manufacturing effort, the entire productionline was re-engineered to optimize efficiency and can now be quicklyextended or reconfigured for other device types, providing the abilityto scale production up or down to meet rapidly changing demand.
“Asthe world leader in solar inverter technology we now intend to initiatea trend towards CO2 neutral factories,” added Cramer.