SMA inverter factory distinguished with first prize at Energy Efficiency Award 2010

Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) distinguished the world’s largest and CO2-neutral inverter factory of SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA) with the first prize of the international Energy Efficiency Award 2010. The award presentation was held today in the course of the World Energy Dialogue at Hannover Messe. The international award is granted to companies for outstanding projects that help to increase energy efficiency and considerably reduce energy consumption.

The SMA factory with an annual production capacity of up to five gigawatt on more than 18,000 square meters of floor space has the lowest possible energy requirements together with the highest efficiency of consumed energy. Among other things the building envelop thus is based on the low-energy building standard. A considerably reduced energy consumption of the production and testing facilities is achieved through efficiency measures in the production process. An optimal use of daylight, intelligent ventilation and the use of storage units for heating and cooling complement the energy and building concept of the factory.

The remaining electricity and heat demand is covered by renewable energy sources: an integrated PV system with a power of around 1.1 megawatt and a combined heat and power plant fueled with bio-gas generate CO2-neutral electricity. Additionally, "green electricity" is purchased in order to cover the total energy consumption of the production facilities. In the medium term the CO2 balance will be compensated by installing additional photovoltaic systems nearby.

The base load of the required heat is also produced by the biogas-powered combined heat and power plant. At the same time, the waste heat coming from the compressor for the air powered tools and the lifting gear is utilized for the heating system. The additional heat demand is covered by using district heating from a nearby waste incineration plant. Finally, an absorption refrigeration machine uses the heat of the combined heat and power plant for air conditioning.

The energy plan that was exclusively developed for the SMA factory has convinced the jury that decided on the winners of the Energy Efficiency Award: “To achieve CO2-neutral production, SMA has worked with experts to develop and implement an own energy plan which intelligently combines different energy sources to generate heat, cold, compressed air and electricity as required. It uses existing synergies, controls energy flows as required and matches them optimally to one another. In addition, ultramodern technology is used, together with the utilization of renewable sources to produce energy, such as the sun and biogas,” reads the jury’s assessment: “SMA has been awarded the first prize for building a forward-looking facility, which sets the standard for future projects.”

“With our inverter factory we want to demonstrate, that a highly modern industrial production on a demanding technical level is possible climate-neutrally today. The factory is meant to be a flagship project for the expansion of renewable energies and the avoidance of CO2 emissions,” explains Guenther Cramer, Chief Executive Officer of SMA Solar Technology AG: “To us, the first prize of the Energy Efficiency Award 2010 is another confirmation that we have chosen the right way.”

Next to a high flexibility in production, energy efficiency and renewable energies also have a high priority with current and future building projects of SMA. The new training center of the SMA Solar Academy, the construction of which is scheduled to be completed in the middle of 2010, has been planned as a completely energy-autonomous building. The planned building project in the new commercial area Sandershaeuser Berg, which should replace the current interim solutions for SMA’s production enhancement in the medium term, also provides for a highly efficient and sustainable energy plan.

About the Energy Efficiency Award
As part of the “Initiative EnergieEffizienz”, the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) in cooperation with Deutsche Messe AG and DZ Bank AG since 2007 presents the international Energy Efficiency Award to innovative companies for outstanding projects that help to increase energy efficiency. The award is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

About SMA
The SMA Group generated sales of c. 934 million Euro in 2009 and is the worldwide market leader for photovoltaic inverters, a key component of all solar power plants. It is headquartered in Niestetal, near Kassel, Germany, and is represented on four continents by 13 foreign subsidiaries. The Group employs a staff of over 4,000 (incl. temporary workers). SMA’s product portfolio includes the most comprehensive range of inverters on the market, offering a compatible inverter for every type of photovoltaic module and for all plant sizes. The product range covers both inverters for photovoltaic plants connected to the grid as well as inverters for off-grid systems. Since 2008, the Group’s parent company SMA Solar Technology AG has been listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (S92) and also in the TecDAX index. In recent years, SMA has received numerous awards for its excellence as an employer.

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