Furniture store celebrates its 25th anniversary with solar power

In eastern Germany, Möbel Starke OHG is now using its own photovoltaic system to meet a third of its annual electricity needs

Bad Staffelstein/ Schönbach, September 13, 2015 — Wöhlk Solar GmbH, Premium Partner of the German photovoltaic (PV) system provider IBC SOLAR AG, planned and constructed a PV system for one of Saxony’s leading furniture stores. Now, one year after the plant's commissioning—and just in time for Möbel Starke OHG's 25th anniversary celebration— the furniture manufacturer and vendor is using solar power to produce over a third of the electricity it needs, meaning it now relies far less on the utilities grid.


Right from the outset, plans for the construction of a new logistics centre at the family-run organisation’s headquarters in Schönbach in summer 2014 featured a roof-mounted photovoltaic system. The electricity this system now produces is primarily used in the neighbouring carpentry hall, where bespoke pieces of furniture for retirement homes and student housing are built. Power saws, drills and exhaust systems account for the bulk of the power consumed there. One year after the plant was commissioned and twenty-five after the company was founded, the savings brought by the system are showing in terms of both electricity procurement and operating costs. In its first year of operation, the solar plant produced 70,000 kilowatt hours of electricity for internal consumption, meeting a third of the furniture company's electricity needs. Accordingly, the company was able to spend a third less obtaining electricity from utilities providers.


Sustainability: part of the business model

"We are proud that, over four generations, the family business we originally founded in 1900 has continued to expand, developing into a thriving company with multiple stores," says owner Uwe Starke. "And we firmly believe that optimized operating costs and sustainable energy consumption are important aspects of a successful business model. This was why, when planning our new warehouse, we made a conscious decision at the outset to integrate a modern photovoltaic system that would enable us to produce our own electricity."


IBC SOLAR's Premium Partner Wöhlk Solar GmbH, took various factors into account when designing the plant, in order to find the perfect individual solution for the furniture company. The load profile and structural conditions of the hall roof were taken into consideration, as was the company’s requirement that 80 per cent of the energy produced should be consumed internally in order to make the investment as economical as possible. In order to ensure the longevity of the PV system - and thus the security of the investment -, high-quality components like the IBC-brand PolySol 250 VM played a key role for Möbel Starke as well.


Power generation perfectly adjusted to the company’s needs

In order to ensure the system would meet as many of the company’s needs as possible, Wöhlk Solar conducted a load profile analysis, and then decided to construct a system with modules oriented southwest and northeast. Having the generators oriented in different directions ensures that the system can produce electricity even during the early-morning hours, as well as late into the evening. This corresponds perfectly with the timings of the company's furniture-production shift operations, which begin at 5:30 am and end at around 7 pm. Wöhlk opted to use IBC's AeroFix flat-roof mounting system so as not to damage the building's delicate, flat foil roof. The IBC AeroFix system has integrated aluminium-clad structural preservation mats and is not bolted to the roof. The modules' flat angle of inclination (just 10 degrees) also makes them both suitable for northeast-oriented systems and extremely windproof. This last feature saved the installers a great deal of work: just 96 kilograms of additional ballast were required to weigh down the PV system. This ensures that the building's load-bearing reserves will not even be strained under additional weight (that of snow, for example).