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Sustainable flooring thanks to solar energy: photovoltaic system supplies CLASSEN plant

Kaisersesch site produces exclusively with solar power on summer days

Kaisersesch, April 15, 2023. On an area of 35,000 m², the new photovoltaic plant of the CLASSEN Group produces green energy for the production site in Kaisersesch. The massive solar park generates enough electricity annually to power around 1,300 two-person households for an entire year or to supply a soccer stadium with energy for around 200 games. This is provided by the nearly 7,000 modules that generate about 4,234,000 kWh of electricity in one year. The modern PV system is located on a field in the immediate vicinity of the plant in Kaisersesch and is seamlessly connected to production. It supplies the most energy-intensive areas - granulate plant and board production - with green electricity. This brings CLASSEN a big step closer to its ambitious goals in terms of sustainability and circular economy. The family-owned company is increasingly relying on renewable energies in the production of completely recyclable floor coverings such as CERAMIN®.

PV systems to supply a quarter of the electricity

So far, the solar plant has achieved a degree of self-sufficiency of eleven percent - not including the company's own biomass power plant and the additionally planned solar modules. This means that more than one tenth of the electricity consumption can already be covered by the own PV system. Only the nighttime production is not possible with solar energy and distorts the actually very good degree of self-sufficiency. In order to use the green electricity as efficiently as possible during the day, the machines work staggered over the week. In this way, the solar power can be generated directly and consumed again. On summer days, the entire plant in Kaisersesch is even powered only by the solar system. The investment of around three million euros in the sustainability and self-sufficiency of the plant is therefore having an effect. The flooring manufacturer expects the investment to pay for itself within 4.5 years. CLASSEN has been consistently focusing on sustainability for years and is already working on a second solar park at the same location. Both PV plants combined will be able to cover about a quarter of the electricity demand only by solar energy, the company predicts.

Speeding up the plant's own energy transition thanks to a willingness to take risks

The realization of the solar plant proved to be difficult again and again. It took almost two years from planning to commissioning - significantly longer if CLASSEN had not been prepared to take risks as well. The project started in July 2021. The building application was submitted in December. It took another six months before approval came. With delivery times of up to two years, the uncertain wait for the permit threatened to further delay the energy transition in operation. That was not an option for the family business. "If you really want to make a difference, you have to do instead of waiting," said Stefanie Quervel, CFO at CLASSEN Group.  CLASSEN decided to procure the solar modules and transformer stations at its own risk - before obtaining the building permit. The venture paid off and in April the PV system went into operation. The flooring manufacturer is convinced of the project's success and is already working on a second solar farm with about twice as many modules (13,824). The additional PV system is expected to produce 5,684,000 kWh of electricity and increase the self-sufficiency level of solar energy to around 25 percent.

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