Mr Pichler from Biohandel in Austria was tired of handing over tens of thousands of euros to the energy supplier every year. Its main business area – trading in organic fruit and vegetables – requires an enormous energy capacity for cooling the goods. With the installation of a PV system on his own warehouse, Mr Pichler saves 10,000 euros a year in energy costs.
The system pays for itself extremely quickly: the system will have already covered its costs after five years. Everything after that is profit.
“We have the greatest need for electricity when it is warm outside - normally when the sun is shining. Especially in summer, the difference in temperature between outside and inside can be as high as 35°C. That costs a lot of money. When we expanded our warehouses a year ago, our installer gave us the idea of using the roof surfaces for a PV system,” says Gerhard Pichler about the origins of the PV system.
Planning was an extremely fast process. Pichler reports: “We were able to rely completely on our installer for this project. Our rooftop system has an output of 100 kWp over a total area of 610 m². A total of 370 polycrystalline modules were installed. When choosing the inverter manufacturer, it was very clear to us that they had to come from Europe. Our own company philosophy pursues the goal of selling regional products of the highest possible quality. There was therefore no question that we would use an Austrian inverter. Our installer recommended Fronius devices to us and this turned out to be the best decision.”
The photovoltaic system was implemented in such a way that the highest possible proportion of the energy consumption of Biohandel can be covered by the PV output. Over 100,000 kWh of green electricity is produced annually by the PV system, of which the company can use an average of 80% itself. The largest loads in this case are the cooling systems.
According to Mr Pichler, „We can cover the largest part of our energy costs with the PV system. After only one year of use, we have already seen that we have generated a higher yield than originally anticipated. If we look at the investment costs, these will have already paid for themselves after five years.“
» The system costs will have paid for themselves in five years. «
For companies with a high energy demand, it is currently still difficult to operate independently of the public grid. Biohandel, however, has already managed to demonstrate a degree of self-sufficiency of 40%. This means that it does not have to draw electricity from the grid for an average of almost 10 hours a day. Even more could be done with the introduction of storage systems.
Mr Pichler has a very clear opinion on this: „It would be great if we could store the electricity that we don’t use.“
Although they account for only a small proportion of the total energy requirements, the company’s four electric cars also use the solar energy for charging. This enables the company to profit from the energy that it does not directly consume at source.
On sunny days, Biohandel’s PV system produces more energy than it can use itself. With this surplus, the employees can drive almost 3,200 electric kilometres. For Biohandel, it therefore makes sense to invest in further electric vehicles. This would allow the company to use even more of the PV power it produces itself and further increase the degree of self-consumption.
Biohandel Pichler enjoys the following advantages by charging its e-cars with its own electricity:
In addition to the purely economic benefits, a PV system also helps to reduce a company’s ecological footprint.
More and more customers expect companies to contribute to climate protection. This factor, which is difficult to measure, is gaining in importance and cannot be ignored when investing in renewable measures.
|Annual energy demand of the company||Approx. 200,000 kWh|
|Size of installation||100 kWp|
|Annual PV yield||Approx. 100,000 kWh|
|Degree of self-sufficiency||40%|
|Loads||Cooling system, packaging machines, conveyor belts, lighting|
Fronius Symo inverter
Fronius Smart Meter
Keba charging unit for charging the e-vehicles
|Roof space used for the PV modules||610 m²|
|Savings in energy costs||Approx. 10,000 euros p.a.|
|Payback time||Approx. 5 years|
|CO2 saved/year||Approx. 53 tonnes|