Solar panels for logistics facilities, opportunities for municipalities
Logistics real estate as an energy source — several million square metres of space for solar panels
Every year, several million square metres of logistics buildings are constructed in Germany. The extensive roof and façade areas offer enough space to accommodate thousands of solar panels per property. Equipped with photovoltaics, these can produce an amount of energy that far exceeds the property’s own needs, so that the surplus can flow into the public grid. In the new-build sector alone, the potential for contributing to the energy transition is considerable, but it is also possible to upgrade existing buildings.
“A rule of thumb for calculating the maximum system output of photovoltaics is based on one kilowatt peak per ten square metres of surface area,” explains Alexander Nehm, Professor of Logistics at DHBW Mannheim. “I assume that about 100 million square metres of new logistics space have been created in the last twenty years. If these properties alone were equipped with photovoltaics, the achievable output would be about 10 terawatt hours per year. That is just under two percent of net electricity consumption in Germany.”
In addition to photovoltaics, large-scale industrial parks are also suitable locations for wind turbines, especially since they take up a very small area of land. Other technologies such as combined heat and power plants, water-source heat pumps and geothermal energy provide additional support for the energy transition. Frauke Heistermann, spokesperson for the initiative “Die Wirtschaftsmacher” (The Economic Makers) describes the opportunity that logistics locations can offer for municipalities: “The topic of energy supply now plays a central role for municipalities in the upcoming realignment. Instead of using green spaces for photovoltaics on a grand scale, existing logistics properties offer ideal conditions. In new buildings, it is already predominantly part of the standard. So in the future, logistics locations will not only contribute to the supply of goods, but also to the supply of green energy.”
Commitment of logistics: Establish dialogue, show perspectives
The trend among developers and users clearly points in the direction of sustainability. This is also shown by the Logix Award, which the Logistics Real Estate Initiative (Logix) presents every two years for outstanding logistics real estate projects. The four finalists of 2021 all distinguished themselves through special measures in terms of sustainability, CO2 neutrality and social aspects in the building design.
How far the building goes in the direction of a “green” building is decided by the selection of the respective sustainability components — from the photovoltaic system on the roof to e‑charging columns for cars, cisterns for rainwater utilisation and roof and façade greening to the wildflower meadow in the outdoor area.
Detailed information on sustainability efforts in the logistics sector can be found in the thematic booklet “Climate Protection and Ecological Sustainability in Logistics” at: https://die-wirtschaftsmacher.de/themenhefte
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)