A new distribution centre generates and stores energy.

Innovative distribution centre generates and stores energy

The Norwegian supermarket chain REMA 1000’s new distribution centre in Sandnes has an integrated energy solution, which make the building partially self-supplied with energy. This innovative solution has great potential in other buildings.

24. September 2018

“The unique thing about REMA 1000’s new distribution centre is its integrated energy solution that includes solar power generated on-site, energy storage in the building and advanced automatic control of generation and consumption. We estimate that around 25 percent of the building’s energy needs will be covered by self-generated energy”, says Bjørn Thorud of Multiconsult.

Multiconsult has been responsible for developing and implementing the building’s energy solution, working closely with REMA 1000 and the consulting firm EvoTek to come up with the best and most efficient solutions. On Tuesday, September the 18th, the building was officially inaugurated.

Automatic control increases efficiency

Much of the roof of the 26,000 m2 building in Sandnes is covered with solar panels, and thanks to the building’s energy-efficient systems they are able to meet a significant proportion of the building’s energy needs. Advanced automatic control systems predict the power generation and energy consumption based on the weather conditions and planned activity, and optimise the operation of the building.

“The unusual thing in this building is that the energy produced is almost exclusively used in the distribution centre itself, rather than being distributed through the power grid, which is what happens most of the time with a standard solar power system. At REMA 1000’s distribution centre, energy which is not used immediately is stored in a large battery pack, so it can also be used when the solar panels are not generating energy. The energy is also stored thermally in a large water tank, which depending on the season provides cooling or heating to the building”, says Thorud.

Thorud also points out another unique feature, which is the use of the weather forecast and planned activities in the building to predict how much energy the building will need over the coming hours and days. This makes it possible to consume and store energy more efficiently.

Self-generated energy

The building’s self-generated renewable energy comes from solar panels. It is estimated that each year they will produce around 830,000 kWh, which is approximately 25 percent of the total energy needed for the operation of the building.
“This kind of solution has great potential both in Norway and overseas. This is the first project to demonstrate it on such a large scale, but the methodology and technology can be transferred and adapted to most other buildings”, explains Thorud.

Buildings that supply a greater or smaller proportion of their own energy needs free up capacity in the power grid, reducing the need for additional investments in infrastructure. Internationally, in many cases an even bigger advantage will be that being relatively self-sufficient for energy increases reliability of supply.

Facts about the building

  • REMA 1000’s new distribution centre at Vagle in Sandnes stores and distributes food products for all of south-western Norway.
  • The building, which has 26,000 m2 of floor space, was completed in September 2018.
  • An integrated energy solution, which combines solar panels with battery and thermal energy storage, makes the building more self-sufficient for electricity than normal.
  • Weather forecasts and activity data are used to predict power generation and energy consumption, making it possible to further optimise operations.
  • The solar power system has a rated capacity of 1 MWp. The electric battery used to store energy has a capacity of 460 kWh/200 kW.
  • The actual storage capacity and output of the thermal energy storage system will depend on the operating conditions. Its theoretical storage capacity is up to 3,500 and 7000 kWh for cooling and heating respectively.