The Bavarian Council of Ministers made the decision that a photovoltaic power plant (PV) should be built at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Garching in 1996. This was intended to reflect the innovative spirit of the Free State of Bavaria and the Technical University Munich as regards the incipient PV boom. The plant, a grid-connected system with partially transparent glass-glass modules, was integrated into three glass roofs and had a peak power of 45 kWp thereby taking a leading role in the new field of building-integrated photovoltaics (BiPV) at that time.
In addition, on the roof of the Institute for Power Engineering MW 7 a 600 m² solar research area was created. Since then, different research groups have done work there in the fields of facade technologies, BiPV, solar thermal collectors and solar water treatment.
These facilities, in the interests of teaching and research, have been continually improved and expanded in the past few years:
- in 2000, a multifunctional BiPV-plant with 20 kWp was integrated into the south facing facade of the faculty’s new building,
- since 2004, a 1.6 kWp open area plant with a new kind of 2-axis tracking VIAX-system is being tried out,
- in 2006, when the Bavarian Academy of Science and Humanities was building the new Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LSC) the 12 kWp PV was installed, for organisational reasons, at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering - on the roof of MW5, Solar Research Field MW 5
- for the new lab course “Renewable Energies”, introduced in 2007, a two-axis tracking PV-system with a peak power of 2.1 kWp was built, and Solar Research Field MW 3
- finally in 2013, during the expansion of the LSC, a 20 kWp PV was built on the roof of the MW 3. In order to procure comparative measurements this plant was divided into three parts with different module types but with equal performance.