You are here in the solar centre Mirow & Co., a company which developed from my private workshop which I opened as soon as in 1975 in the GDR with the name “workshop for physics-electronics” . A company which has not been so common during GDR times and which had operated with mess-electronics and rehabilitation technology.

 

The solar centre Mirow is a piece of development from that company because it is also a hobby and we can say that we have been doing this for about ten years. On the whole the company is occupied with energy technologies, i.e. with all forms of modern heating, with solar thermal energy, heat pump heating, the using of block heat power stations, with wood heating systems, pellet heating, wood chopping, water heating by fireplaces – all you can imagine and you can also see them in our ‘Plus Energy House’.

 

I do not have a special training in this direction, but I used to study Physics and later on electronic measuring equipment, I did my diploma then and got a doctorate in medical technology, so we are familiar with everything around energetics and cybernetics. The implementation of solar technology is just a result of the thought that we need to use more than oil in order to save the world.

 

Basically this is all autodidactic, but once there was a wonderful association of these energy-lovers which had the name “Phoenix” (from the association of energy users in Germany). And that was where I personally became a “solar consultant”; that was a really hard test for a middle-aged man like me which then ended with being a “solar consultant for photovoltaic and solar thermal systems”.

 

Our employees and our manager Mr. König also acquired the knowledge in an autodidactic way with my help. It’s just because a small company like ours – I would like to add this – doesn’t have any time or money to fully train yourself or your employees. However, therefore we have modern media that help us.

 

We have a photovoltaic façade at our office building. The electricity produced there is much more than we use so that basically we could live on it, but it is also being supplied to the power grid. The heating in this building runs with natural gas, because we didn’t want and haven’t been able to interfere with the constructional conditions. We have presented the alternative for this whole story in our “Plus Energy House” that simultaneously helps the solar centre Mirow as a marketing element in order to show the people what can be done.

 

The electricity used in the company is being 100 % produced by solar energy. The heating is still fossil, a fact we don’t like. This has to do with the old radiators but also for timewise and financial reasons. Electricity is produced for 100 % by our own and is being supplied to the power grid.

 

We are selling the surplus to our grid provider E.dis to which we are closely connected and we don’t have any problems here.

Всъщност ние продаваме този излишък от ел. енергия на електрическата компания E.dis, с която сме в много добри отношения, поддържаме тясно сътрудничество и не сме имали никакви проблеми в това отношение.

 

Of course it is also an economical argument that such a solar plant is being amortised very quickly. This is also a way of income for many agricultural companies today in our region.

 

First of all there are the federal programmes, the EEG (energy supply law) which really develops as a global example; then there are grants from the Federal ministry of economics for the solar thermal energy and in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania there is also the support in connection with the climatic concept, but that only exists for social institutions, for associations and for charitable institutions, not for private companies.

 

We were happy that no obstacles were being put in our way when we built our own company buildings. We didn’t need any support here and our solar façade was approved without any concerns. Regarding the marketing element “Plus Energy House” – there the whole regenerative energy technology costed 133,000 euros – we consciously did not take any grants and in spite of this the minister of the environment opened the building (although it was not funded by him). And that is an example of the general support in Germany: you can make something like this profitable without direct grants only through the EEG (energy supply law).

 

For these thermal installations we have included in the house we have taken the support of 125 euros per square meter. Today it is divided: for small plants you only get 115 euros and for bigger ones 135 euros because they especially want to support the heating. We have received the first variation for our collector surface of 26 square meters. That was a small support and our energy supplier has paid us a unique grant of 500 euros for the heating pump.

 

Of course it is necessary to raise the capital therefore; the solar centre is a limited company with very limited means and a relative small amount of capital. We have done it in a way that the things were financed privately, but could be used by the company.

 

First of all I would like to add something: we have especially used the natural cooling. It is possible to bring cooling into a house with the side effect of the heat pump source with very few electricity, actually only with the driving energy of normal circulation pumps. As we know, huge amounts of energy are being used in America in the summer by air conditionings. We have also shown here that it is possible to cool with almost no energy. Let’s come to your question now: we are a solar technical company, that’s why the introduction of solar cells doesn’t have big impacts, but in another company it will surely lead to a higher level of education among employees and also to a bigger interest in that topic and maybe to an improvement of the working atmosphere.

 

There are no limitations for using renewable energies. The introduction of water heating pumps is a little bit more problematic, because here you always need the approval of our water authority. If you want to build a well and use ground water and if it is not allowed to mix up layers, it is a little complicated. That’s why this variation which is actually most effective concerning water pump plants is often not used. Instead surface collectors are used which actually only penetrate into the earth’ s surface or you use earth sensors which is less complicated. However, you have to bore a hole into the earth which is up to 70 meters deep and you also have to have permission for that.

 

Our manager and me are both from the electric branche, we don’t need any additional training, we have the authorization of the local energy supplier. But our employees needed further training. We do not have any direct trainings which would be costly, but in most cases the trainings took place by the production companies which are free for the company and for the solar centre Mirow. But our company used business consultants and we also got grants for the consulting. But from a professional perspective this was not necessary.

 

At this point we are a little bit out of date. As a company for safety technology we used to have fights with the VDS permission and ISO 9000 which would have meant that we would have had to pay a lot of money for something that we already have with a quiet conscience. That’s why I personally do not attach any value to those certifications. It may be true that some customers are impressed by this, but we want to create impression by our specialised competence and by the things they can closely see in our company.

 

It is a phenomenon that we experience again and again that families and companies who have done something in the direction of renewable energy get a completely new awareness of life. There are people who really look on their electricity meter every day, live very consciously, save electricity and water much more consciously although they are even supplying it. That is also our main aim that we sell our renewable energies with the title “Save energy – use renewable energies”. And I really like this process of people changing their ideas even in our company. So it’s a clear yes, a better awareness of life, a feeling to contribute to the saving of the world and of possibly not being unprofitable – that is a very great feeling. I can only answer this question in a positive way, we have also made a little contribution to the image of our city of Mirow and our Mecklenburg Lakes.

 

The regional interest is very high and positive, when no regional money is needed for the introduction of renewable energies. There are enough individualists and active people who are taking action, even if it’s sometimes too much for them; their only aim is to do something good. This also wears out our modern society and it makes us a little proud. In the administrative district of Mecklenburg-Strelitz there should only be a few people who don’t know about the solar centre Mirow and our efforts.