Solar Factory 1

The Solar Factory 1 is currently the world’s largest solar inverter factory with CO2-neutral production. It will contribute to the improvement of the spatial and logistical conditions of the production processes in the manufacture of inverters for obtaining solar electricity.

The building, with a clear height of 8.50 m, runs parallel to the existing buildings. The horizontal shed is intended as an analogy of an industrial extruded profile. The longitudinal façades of the building are slightly curved and “perforated” by vertical window elements. In contrast to this, the two end walls are completely of glass. A recessed pedestal level gives the “profile” the appearance of hovering above the ground.

In addition to the manufacture and assembly of prefabricated electronic components to form electronic components in the central area of Solar Werk 1, the peripheral areas of the upper storey house ancillary rooms, social spaces and the production department’s offices. Access to the building for the 450 employees and visitors is at the two end elevations of the building.

The roof support structure was erected as a prefabricated steel frame construction on prefabricated reinforced concrete loadbearing supports. The longitudinal elevations of the building were clad with curtain façades of aluminium composite panels in white, with dark-grey window elements.

The building is fitted with several kinds of photovoltaic system – roof-mounted, integrated into the roof lights of the building, in the canopies above the logistics yard and around an outside terrace. The overall output of the systems installed is approx. 1.2 MWp.

The heat required is generated by a biogas-fuelled CHP and biogas condensing boilers. Absorption air conditioning units provide cooling where necessary. The energy consumption of substantial areas is optimised by means of a thermal simulation of the building.

The workstations near the façades have natural light and ventilation from the windows. Cooling ceilings ensure pleasant working conditions even in the summer months.

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Building Typology: Retail
Location: Kassel
Country: Germany
Planning / Construction Period: 2008 - 2009
Order type: New Building
Client: SMA Solar Technology AG
Project Participants:
  • Structural engineer: EHS, Lohfelden
  • HVAC: Imtech Deutschland GmbH & Co.KG
  • Energy concept and CO2-neutrality: deNET e.V., Kassel
  • Energy concept: IB Hausladen/EGS, Stuttgart
  • Landscape architecture: PWF, Kassel
Scope of Services: Architecture
Gross Floor Area: 25268 m²
Awards: Nomination for the “Great Nike” BDA Architecture Prize 2009
Prime Property Award by Union Investment 2010
Energy Efficiency Award by DENA (German Energy Agency) 2010
German Solar Prize plaque 2010
“Selected location” for 365 locations, Germany – Land of Ideas 2011

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Solar Factory 1