The efficiency of a solar power plant depends very much on the well-prepared condition of the ground it is built upon. In order to guarantee a permanent and sustainable performance of the new, four hectare photovoltaic park in Schwandorf in Bavaria, the managing company SUNTEC Energiesysteme GmbH decided on the extensive use of DuPont™ Plantex® Gold weed control barrier from DuPont distribution partner Root Barrier B.V.
In 2013, SUNTEC Energiesysteme GmbH from Wolkshausen in Germany was facing the challenge of turning the site of a former contaminated railway sleeper production plant in Schwandorf in Bavaria into a modern photovoltaic park with 8.000 solar modules.
After intensive planning, SUNTEC chose to install a close to the ground mounting system usually used on flat roofs. Having chosen a suitable mounting system, next came the search for a sustainable, timesaving and above all long-lasting solution for use on the contaminated, weed-infested ground.
It is generally assumed that the maintenance of a solar park is negligible. But being aware of the ground such a park is built upon and correctly assessing its maintenance effort is essential for the efficiency of the installation. Recently, several solar parks have gained notoriety by having turned into useless weed fields, because there was no adequate weed control procedures planned. Due to its size, the time-consuming mowing of the area in Schwandorf was equally ruled out as was using sheep or applying aggressive weed killer on the already contaminated soil.
SUNTEC Energiesysteme GmbH chose the non-woven weed control barrier DuPont™ Plantex® Gold distributed by the Dutch company Root Barrier B.V. in order to maintain the efficiency of the solar park without significant efforts. The very strong and durable, thermally bonded material made of 100 % polypropylene combines soil erosion control and weed control in one single product, thereby reducing the amount of maintenance effort of green areas to a minimum. At the same time, Plantex® Gold is suitable for a variety of soils and offered a sustainable, safe and recyclable barrier across the contaminated grounds.
A further advantage of using Plantex® Gold for covering contaminated ground is the simple, quick and soil conserving installation of the product, that can be used either covered or uncovered. This especially applied for this particular project, where penetration of the soil with typically used anchor pins was not permitted due to the severe contamination of the soil. Therefore, SUNTECH Energiesysteme GmbH cut the 200 meters long Plantex® weed control material with with a strength of 7.8 KN/m and a unit weight of 125 g/m² to the required size. Subsequently, the material was rolled out on the 18.000 sq.mts. area. The individual lengths have an overlapping of 20 centimeters. The fabric was then held down by the rail profiles of the photovoltaic panels.
Although Plantex® Gold is UV- and weather resistant and can be easily installed and left exposed for 4-5 years, for this particular project, a 5 cm gravel layer was applied for additional UV-protection which gives the Plantex® layer an extended lifespan of up to 25 years.
The Solar Park in Schwandorf has been operational since May 2014 and provides households in the surrounding area with up to 2-Megawatt of environmentally friendly electricity. Highly functional and aesthetically pleasing, the weed control material DuPont™ Plantex® Gold helped converting a contaminated site into a sustainable, efficient and sensible solar park.