How is it possible to reuse a disused stone and earth open pit mine in an economically viable and environmentally friendly manner? The town of Meyenburg in the district of Prignitz (Brandenburg) which did not want to leave the land of its former gravel pit lying fallow was faced with this question. The solution: A solar park with an output of 7.45 megawatts which produces green electricity for approximately 2,400 average households per year.
However, it took over a year from the inception of this idea to the actual grid connection in mid-January 2017. Before the actual construction of the plant could be started, it was vital to make special arrangements and to carry out a careful preliminary examination of the land.
Disposal of waste and creating new habitats
IBC SOLAR started making preparations for the construction of the solar park back in September 2015. The conversion of the gravel pit into a solar park was associated with the requirements of the Brandenburg State Office for Mining, Geology and Raw Materials. This meant having to use contaminated soil which had been used in the past to fill the pit and removing illegally disposed waste from the site. This clearing operation was absolutely necessary and required regardless of the planned solar park, as the waste represents a risk to the soil and groundwater. Implementing these conditions was a prerequisite for releasing the land from mining legislation and granting approval for a photovoltaic system to be built.
Before the clearing operation could begin, a large number of new habitats were formed for protected animal species such as sand lizards on the edge of the site. As the lizards require a sunny and dry environment, shaded shrubs were removed, numerous piles of deadwood and stones were put in place and various small bodies of water were extended or newly created. The work was monitored by an ecological monitoring team and was carried out in close cooperation with the district of Prignitz, especially with the nature and water conservation and waste management divisions.
Ten hectares of land turned into a solar park
The PV system was finally built on the roughly ten hectares of land during 2016. The town of Meyenburg drafted a development plan with an environmental assessment and report to create the appropriate building conditions. The land-use plan of the town was also adapted and the local authorities and general public were informed accordingly.
The Meyenburg solar park was connected to the grid on 19 January 2017. Aside from IBC SOLAR AG being responsible for the development, building and technical management of the park, E.ON Energie Deutschland also made an important contribution to this large-scale project. E.ON was taking a part of the project development and financing. The starting point for the cooperation was the first round of bidding of the Federal Network Agency for ground-mounted photovoltaic systems at the beginning of 2015. IBC SOLAR was awarded the contract for the Meyenburg project at the auction.