Messe Frankfurt22 October 2010 – World premiere in Frankfurt: the first photovoltaic system in the form of solar carports on top of a car park has started operation. In co-operation with the Sonneninitiative e.V. association, Messe Frankfurt has installed an additional citizen-owned solar power plant on the roof of its Rebstock multi-storey car park. The electricity generated there can be used on location, for instance as climate-friendly power for electric cars.

The station was officially opened by Lucia Puttrich, Minister of the Environment, Energy, Agriculture and Consumer Protection in the state of Hesse, Dr. Manuela Rottmann, Head of the Environment Department, City of Frankfurt, Volker Klös, director of Sonneninitiative e.V., and Wolfgang Marzin, Chairman of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt. Following start-up of the two systems on the roof of Hall 10, this represents the third successful cooperation for generating sustainable energy on the exhibition grounds. The opening ceremony took place during the first Hessian Sustainability Day event.

“Sustainability to me means ensuring a viable supply of energy for everyone, both today and in the future,” explained Hessian Minister Puttrich. “Innovative ideas and strong commitment at all levels of politics, industry and society are necessary to achieve this. I am very pleased that the citizens of Hesse have joined forces with local businesses to take the initiative and make this pioneering citizen-owned solar power station happen.”

Environment Department Head Rottmann praised Messe Frankfurt and Sonneninitiative for promoting a democratic, de-centralised energy supply, saying: “Transitioning to climate-friendly energy means more than just replacing coal and nuclear energy with renewable sources. When citizens personally take part in solar power plants and wind turbines, it serves to counterbalance the power of the four large companies that have dominated the market up to now. This is a revolution, much like that of Internet 2.0 compared to television 20 years ago.”

“I am pleased at the growing number of blue roofs,” added Klös. “I believe it is the response of citizens to the aimless energy policies being pursued in Berlin. After all, only two percent of the country’s area would be enough to completely supply Germany with safe, climate-neutral electricity from the sun.”

“Environmental protection and sustainable operations in all domains are of tremendous importance to Messe Frankfurt,” emphasised Marzin. He explained that the company has anchored the vision of corporate social responsibility in its guiding principles and accepts its responsibility to the environment as a fair venue operator. “Through this photovoltaic system, we underline our commitment to innovative environmental technologies and as a Frankfurt company hope to set an example for the entire region,” he continued.

With a peak output of more than 600 kilowatts, the new photovoltaic system is currently the largest in the city. It can provide enough electricity for two hundred households in the coming 20 to 30 years, eliminating the emission of some 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. The investors receive 35.7 euro cents per kilowatt hour that is fed back into the grid, earning them a total of EUR 175,000 — 190,000 per year. The annual yield is approx. 530,000 kW.

A total of 6,536 thin film solar modules were combined into an area of 5,200 square metres, which corresponds to the size of a football field.

The electricity generated is fed into and remunerated by the Netzdienste-Rhein-Main GmbH (NRM) network. As with the previous projects, Messe Frankfurt employees and citizens of Frankfurt had the opportunity to purchase shares in the solar power station. Sonneninitiative e.V. is responsible for the system’s technical operation, and also administers Mainova AG’s payments to participants for the power generated. An expansion of the project by approximately 300 kilowatts is already in the planning phase.

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Background information on Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is Germany’s largest trade fair organiser, with 424 million euros in sales and more than 1,660 employees worldwide. The Messe Frankfurt Group has a global network of 28 subsidiaries, five branch offices and 52 international Sales Partners, giving it a presence for its customers in more than 150 countries. Events “made by Messe Frankfurt” take place at more than 30 locations around the globe. In 2009, Messe Frankfurt organised more than 90 trade fairs, of which more than half took place outside Germany. Comprising an area of 578,000 square metres, Messe Frankfurt’s exhibition grounds are currently home to ten exhibition halls and an adjacent Congress Center. The company is publicly owned, with the City of Frankfurt holding 60 percent and the State of Hesse 40 percent. For more information, please visit our website at:

Background information on Sonneninitiative e.V.

Sonneninitiative e.V. is an environmental association based in Marburg, Hesse, which specialises in initiating private renewable energy projects. It promotes the transition to climate-friendly energy in the cities, towns and districts of Hesse. The association has already helped launch more than sixty "citizen-owned solar power stations" on public buildings since its establishment in 2003. The electricity thus generated would theoretically be enough to power a small town using climate-friendly solar energy. Each of this association’s citizen-owned solar power stations is comprised of multiple photovoltaic units installed on the top of a large, usually public, building. These facilities belong to citizens in the region and are technologically linked into a larger system. Each “participant” is the owner of their unit, just as if it had been installed on their own roof. The entire concept is conceived and overseen by Sonneninitiative e.V., which takes responsibility for maintenance, insurance, monitoring and invoicing vis-à-vis the energy supplier. This means that each citizen is able to “harvest” the sun’s energy simply and easily. For more information, please visit: