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Al-Wazir: University of Kassel provides important impetus for sustainable energy production

Hesse's Minister of Economics and Energy, Tarek Al-Wazir, visited the University of Kassel today (July 10) to learn about innovative processes for saving energy and generating alternative energy at universities. In the process, he inspected a photovoltaic system. The university has significantly improved its environmental performance in recent years, as can be seen from the university's sustainability report, which President Prof. Reiner Finkeldey presented today.

Image: Andreas Fischer
From left to right: Prof. Dr. Axel Bangert, Dean of the Department of Electrical Engineering/Computer Science, Thomas Flügge, Managing Director of cdw Stiftung gGmbh, Irene Cramer, Member of the Board of the cdw Stiftung, Minister Tarek Al-Wazir, Prof. Dr. Reiner Finkeldey, President of the University of Kassel.

Al-Wazir visited the photovoltaic (PV) system mounted on the roof of the university's Department of Electrical Engineering/Computer Science as part of his summer trip. It will soon go into operation and is the first of a series of systems that will be installed on university roofs in the coming years with the support of the Kassel-based cdw Stiftung gGmbH. The cdw Foundation is funding the project with a total of 1 million euros. The university will use the electricity itself; the savings in electricity costs will be invested by the university in further PV systems and other sustainability projects. When completed, all the systems together are expected to produce around 600,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
The system is thus exemplary of the so-called "intracting" method, in which savings in energy costs finance new energy-saving measures. The University of Kassel is a nationwide pilot university in this area. In other areas, too, such as lighting or building insulation, the university invests savings in energy costs in further measures according to the intracting model. The university's Department of Technical Building Systems is evaluating the process scientifically and identifying ways in which intracting can be transferred to other universities in Hesse and Germany.

"As a pilot university, the University of Kassel is thus providing important impetus for sustainable energy production," Al-Wazir explained. He praised the solar roof project, saying that it should not only inspire universities to follow suit and thus advance the energy turnaround. "Solar energy use is of central importance for the energy turnaround," Al-Wazir emphasized. "Above all, solar systems are attractive for self-supply of electricity. With the Solar Cadastre Hessen, we are providing impetus for the private expansion of photovoltaics. Through showcase projects such as that of the University of Kassel, I hope to see stimulating effects for the construction of larger self-consumption systems," he said. In 2017, 20 percent of electricity consumption in Hesse was covered by Hessian renewable energies for the first time.

The president of the university, Prof. Dr. Reiner Finkeldey, said, "Sustainability is one of the future topics we are working on scientifically at the University of Kassel. Intracting combines research with the very practical operation of the university. In recent years, we have been able to significantly improve our sustainability record in research, teaching and operations. Thanks to the cdw Foundation, we can make an additional tangible contribution to environmental protection."
For the managing director of cdw Stiftung gGmbH, Thomas Flügge, the commitment of the public sector is a prerequisite for North Hesse to remain in the vanguard of the energy transition. "The expansion of renewable energies helps our region ecologically and economically. Renewable energies generate 120 million euros of regional value added in North Hesse every year. Public institutions, communities and municipalities in particular must once again drive the faltering expansion and be role models for the energy turnaround. We are happy to support this. The facility inaugurated today alone saves around 80 tons of Co2 emissions and 24,000 euros in electricity costs each year."

University President Finkeldey used today's occasion to present the minister with the university's 2nd sustainability report, which has just been published and provides information on goals and results for improving the sustainability balance. According to the report, the university in northern Hesse has significantly improved its balance sheet in the years since 2014, for example in terms of energy savings or waste avoidance.



Sebastian Mense
University of Kassel
Communications, Press and Public Relations
Tel.: +49 561 804-1961
E-mail: presse[at]uni-kassel[dot]de