Solutions Wherever You Go Vol.1

Feature Story

Panasonic HIT Solar Cell Modules Power the Federal Environment Agency in Germany

Hello everybody. This is Hideko, Panasonic's reporter in Berlin. In this issue, I visit the Berlin branch of the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), which moved to a new office building on August 30, 2013. The cutting-edge building, called Haus 2019, generates all the energy it needs, making it the first zero-energy building built by the German government. Haus 2019 accomplishes this feat with the assistance of Panasonic HIT solar cell modules and is gaining attention because of the vast potential of its design.


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  • A Closer Look at Haus 2019 Zero-Energy Building.

A model for zero-energy office buildings - Haus 2019.

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    Haus 2019 Amidst Natural Surroundings in a Suburb of Berlin.

Haus 2019 houses a branch of the German Federal Environment Agency and is located in Marienfelde, a green suburb about 30 minutes away from central Berlin by car. The entrance bears a mark signifying that the building meets EU's stringent EMAS energy-conservation standards.

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    Panels Confirm the Building Meets Stringent EU Environmental Performance Management Standards.

Planning for Haus 2019 began in 2009 when the previous building became too small for its occupants. At the time, new energy conservation standards were being established for EU government buildings (effective in 2019) and the idea was naturally born to construct a building that would serve as a model for government office buildings to come.

All necessary energy is generated on the roof.

Gerd Schablitzki, an architecture technology manager at the Federal Environment Agency, was involved in the Haus 2019 project from the very beginning. He gave me a tour of the premises, telling me that "Haus 2019 was designed to use as little energy as possible. Features like enhanced insulation, airtightness, and optimized window sizes and angles helped reduce energy consumption to extremely low levels. However, the building needed to meet the energy needs of 31 employees. So we decided to install a solar energy system."

The agency publicly sought a solar energy generation system that would efficiently generate maximum energy from limited space. After carefully comparing various products from a number of companies, they chose Panasonic HIT solar cell modules for their superior electric-generating capacity. These modules feature a hybrid structure that reduces charge loss and a low-reflection surface that more efficiently absorbs rays.

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    An Extended Roof Lowers Energy Use by Shading the South-Facing Windows.
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    Panasonic HIT Made a Zero-Energy Building Possible Despite Limited Roof Space.

Maximum energy from minimum space.

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    The Solar Energy Generation System Generates 46,000kw Per Year.
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    Mr. Comes of Panasonic Eco Solutions Energy Management Europe Shows Off the Rooftop Modules.

Christian Comes, a solar sales manager at Panasonic Eco Solutions Energy Management Europe brought me up on the rooftop to explain the technology. "There are 281 modules on this rooftop that together generate 46,000kw of power a year. In Germany, a four-member family house annually consumes about 4,600kw of electricity. So enough energy is generated to power 10 family homes. This would be impossible to achieve with conventional technologies on such a small rooftop. Our highly efficient solar battery modules produce maximum power per area, making it possible to realize a zero-energy building."

Solar energy efficiency in cloudy Berlin.

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    A Monitor Displays Current Solar Power Generation at Haus 2019.

The weather was cloudy on the day I visited the building in Berlin, which receives less sunshine than southern parts of Germany. The environmentally friendly city of Freiburg, for example, receives about 1,740 hours of sunshine every year and takes advantage of it through solar generation systems all over the city. Berlin, on the other hand, receives about 1,623 hours of sunshine per year and very little of that in the winter. I asked Mr. Comes if such a city could really generate enough power.

"We'd have to monitor the system's power generation for a year to determine the specific amount," he answered. "But our technology absorbs more sunlight and generates more power than the systems of competitors!"

This year, Berlin had several hot days reaching temperatures as high as 39°C, which is not typical for Germany and may signal global warming. While conventional modules become less efficient when hot, the data proved that HIT performs admirably even in hot weather.

A comfortable, energy-saving workplace.

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    The Locked Windows are Insulated and Airtight.
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    The High Ceiling Lets in Sunlight and Contributes to An Open Atmosphere.
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    A Heat Pump Keeps the Rooms and Water Warm.

While system performance is accurately measured by a monitoring system, the Federal Environment Agency will also regularly conduct surveys among employees to measure their levels of satisfaction with the building. More and more employees will soon be enjoying the ample space and bright atmosphere provided by numerous windows and skylights in the soaring ceiling at the center of the building. Rooms are heated by a heat-pump system that keeps both the air and the water warm. "This zero-energy building will serve as a model for zero-energy public buildings, which will become ever more energy efficient" says Mr. Schablitzki. "We're receiving requests for backstage tours and feel the building is already attracting a lot of attention from citizens." He says there are now plans for 25 German federal facilities to feature energy-saving designs. It appears that zero-energy Haus 2019, which generates all the energy it needs despite limited roof space - thanks in large part to Panasonic HIT solar cell modules — is genuinely leading to a more eco-friendly future.

(Written by Hideko)

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