Keeping it clean: A photovoltaic system comprising 10,700 modules installed on the roofs of the parking garages at the Audi facility in Neckarsulm began producing electricity from sunlight. AUDI AG has made the space available to Munich-based Gehrlicher Solar AG, which operates the system.
Audi providing 27,000 square meters for photovoltaic power plant – CO2 savings of around 1,040 metric tons per year – Plant Manager Albrecht Reimold: “This project is another example of how Audi is taking responsibility for our environment.”
“We always focus on resource conservation during the production of our cars. Making the roofs of our parking garages available to Gehrlicher Solar AG so that energy can be generated from sunlight fits into this concept,” explains Albrecht Reimold, the Neckarsulm Plant Manager. Audi is also using photovoltaics to generate electricity at its headquarters in Ingolstadt. An 11,600 square meter system has been in operation there since early 2010.
“Renewable energies are becoming an increasingly important part of the energy mix. In urban areas, it is rooftops in particular that harbor great potential for solar energy,” says Klaus Gehrlicher, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Gehrlicher Solar AG. “We are therefore very grateful to AUDI AG for making the roofs of several of its parking garages available for photovoltaic systems.”
The electricity flows into the public grid of the utility EnBW AG. “We can produce more than 1,900 megawatt hours of electrical energy each year in this way. This corresponds to the electrical consumption of 418 four-person households,” explains Bernd Martin, Head of Audi Environmental Protection at the site.
The Audi plant has taken a wide range of measures to protect the environment. Martin explains how in the paint shop, for example, a closed water circuit with sophisticated water treatment means that “we haven’t changed the water since 1995.” A circuit in the leak-tightness testing booth, which every Audi passes through, also saves large amounts of wastewater. Heating circuits in the air handling units of the office buildings also reduce energy consumption.
The engine test center, where engines undergo thorough testing, also meets exacting environmental standards. “Asynchronous machines are used to brake the engines during testing and thus generate energy in a similar way to a bicycle generator,” says Martin. Audi then feeds the electricity into its internal power grid. Another water circuit is used here to cool the engines and to climatize the building.
Audi’s efforts do not stop at the factory gates, however. The Company has established an environmental foundation and endowed it with five million euros to support non-profit projects. Last year, for example, trainees built nesting boxes and mounted them on trees in the forest adjacent to the site. “Through this action we created new nesting places for the endangered Bechstein’s Bat,” says Martin.
- Audi AG