Freiburg launches ‘self-sufficient’ solar roof at new stadium

A huge new solar panel system on the roof of Europa-Park Stadion, home of Bundesliga football club SC Freiburg, officially launched over the weekend.

The 2.4 megawatt system is said to be one of the largest of its kind in the world. Freiburg said the system will have a peak output of 2,387 kilowatts, generating around 2.3 million kWh of electricity a year.

This will cover the annual electricity requirements of Europa-Park Stadion, which opened last year. Freiburg selected BadenovaWÄRMEPLUS, a subsidiary of Badenova, to install more than 6,000 solar panels on the roof of the stadium.

The system takes up an area of 15,000 square metres on the roof of the 35,000-capacity stadium. It was officially inaugurated on Saturday as Freiburg hosted friendly matches against Rayo Vallecano and Stade Rennais.

Freiburg said that the system’s technical grid still requires connecting, and it is hoped that the solar roof can begin operation in the second half of September.

BadenovaWÄRMEPLUS has invested around €2.3m (£2m/$2.3m) into the system and is contractually obligated to operate the plant for at least 20 years.

Lord Mayor of Freiburg Martin Horn said: “A particularly sunny day for Freiburg. The solar roof of Europa-Park Stadion is a clear statement from the city, sports club and Badenova for climate protection, sustainability and renewable energies.

“It is an outstanding project for the climate goals of the city of Freiburg and was a spot-on energy policy decision in these times of crisis in the energy market. With the solar roof, the stadium is virtually self-sufficient in terms of electricity consumption over the year.”

Freiburg played its first game at Europa-Park Stadion in October last year. The match was played in front of a restricted crowd of 15,000 due to COVID-19 guidelines at the time.

Freiburg had played at the 24,000-seat Dreisamstadion since 1954 and had originally hoped to move to its new ground during the 2020-21 season, but this was not possible.

Image: Andreas Schwarzkopf/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size