RWE has installed two photovoltaic plants complete with battery storage facilities at the Garzweiler opencast mine in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, as part of its country-wide plant concept.
The company has installed more than 58,000 bifacial PV modules on a site the size of about 38 football fields that will generate solar electricity for over 7250 households every year.
The panels are photosensitive on both sides so in addition to sunlight hitting them directly, they can also utilise light reflected by the ground to the rear side of the modules.
“For a clean and reliable electricity supply, we not only need more renewables, we also need battery solutions such as those implemented by RWE at the Garzweiler opencast mine, enabling our citizens to use solar power even after sunset,” said mayor of Bedburg Sascha Solbach.
RWE Renewables Europe & Australia chief executive Katja Wünschel added: “Solar power from opencast mines is a model for success. Using them in combination with battery systems is ideal.
“This is an integrated and highly successful plant concept that we are putting into practice at several locations simultaneously.
“In a short timeframe we have constructed three large-scale solar battery plants on opencast mine sites, and one more is under construction. That represents a further step towards our goal of achieving renewables projects with a capacity of 500MW in the Rhenish lignite mining area by 2030.”
The Garzweiler project has a peak capacity of 19.4MWp and 6.5MW of storage capacity. It was set up directly below the Königshovener Höhe Wind Farm, which is operated by the city of Bedburg.
The Jackerath site (12.1MWp and 4.1MW battery storage) is located on the western edge of the opencast mine. The battery storage systems are designed for a two-hour charging and supply cycle.
“The two locations have a combined area of approximately 38 football fields,” said chief technology officer Lignite at RWE Power Lars Kulik.
“This shows it is not only our large-scale recultivation areas that offer plenty of space for renewables but also opencast mine areas that are still in operation.
“We plan to use these to ensure the region continues to be an energy producer into the future.”
At the Inden opencast mine, the RWE indeland Solar Farm is a similar facility that has been generating solar electricity since 2022 from more than 26,500 solar modules in combination with a battery storage system. The electricity generated there is enough to supply about 4000 German households.
RWE is also constructing the RWE Neuland Solar Farm photovoltaic and battery facility at the Hambach opencast mine, and a further solar plant is being planned there.