Photo Credit: dena

SMA Solar Inverter Factory Distinguished with International Energy Efficiency Award

Niestetal, Germany, April 27, 2010 – Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena), an alliance comprised of the German Energy Agency and European power companies, has honored SMA Solar Technology AG with the 2010 International Energy Efficiency First Place Award for its groundbreaking CO2-neutral solar inverter factory, located in Kassel, Germany.

The award presentation was held in during the World Energy Dialogue event at Hannover Messe in Germany.

The international prize is granted to companies for outstanding projects that help to increase energy efficiency and considerably reduce energy consumption.

The SMA factory, the world’s largest with an annual production capacity of up to five gigawatts, sits on 193,000 square feet of floor space, yet has the lowest energy requirements and highest efficiency of consumed energy possible. The building envelop utilizes a low-energy building standard. Energy consumption is substantially reduced for the production and testing facilities and is achieved through efficiency measures in the production process. The optimal use of daylight, intelligent ventilation and the use of storage units for heating and cooling, work in conjunction with the energy and building design concepts to maximize efficiency.

The remaining electricity and heat demand is covered by renewable energy sources: an integrated PV system, with an approximate power of 1.1 megawatts, and a combined heat and power plant fueled with bio-gas, which generates CO2-neutral electricity. Additional green electricity is purchased to cover any outstanding energy consumption by the production facility.

In the future, the CO2 balance will be further compensated through the installation of additional nearby photovoltaic systems.

The required heat base load is also produced by the biogas-powered combined heat and power plant. Excess heat coming from the air compressor used for powered tools and lifting gear is repurposed for the heating system. 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 award jury’s assessment read:

To achieve CO2-neutral production, SMA has worked with experts to develop and implement an [sic] 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. 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 wanted to demonstrate that highly modern, climate-neutral industrial production on a demanding technical level is possible today,” said Guenther Cramer, chief executive officer of SMA Solar Technology AG. ”The factory is meant to be a flagship project for the expansion of renewable energies and the avoidance of CO2 emissions. To us, the first prize of the Energy Efficiency Award 2010 is another confirmation that we have chosen the right way.”

About the Energy Efficiency Award
Since 2007, as part of the “Initiative EnergieEffizienz,” the Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) in cooperation with Deutsche Messe AG and DZ Bank AG 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 more than sales of 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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