Heraeus Precious Metals and Next Energy sign power purchase agreement for electricity from solar plants

Hanau, 23rd February 2023

  • Heraeus Precious Metals and Next Energy have signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA)
  • Several large photovoltaic plants with a total installed capacity of 40 MWp (megawatt peak) will be built on an area of more than 300,000 square meters in the Rhine-Main area in Germany

Heraeus Precious Metals, one of the world's leading suppliers in the precious metals industry and part of the global Heraeus Group, is cooperating with Next Energy on the installation of photovoltaic plants. In the Rhine-Main area, where the headquarters of both companies are located, Heraeus' commitment in the form of a long-term power purchase agreement will result in the construction of several large ground-mounted photovoltaic plants. These will be planned and constructed by Next Energy. Full commissioning is planned in the course of 2024.

In total, the plants will have a maximum total output of 40 MWp and will provide the Heraeus Group with an expected electricity production of around 40 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. This will make a significant contribution to meeting the company's electricity needs in Germany. The investment amounts to around 35 million euros.

Heraeus Precious Metals has set itself ambitious goals with regard to sustainability: By 2025, the precious metals business unit of the Heraeus Group strives to become CO2-neutral and from 2033 to completely dispense with the use of fossil fuels. The purchase of electricity from renewable sources plays an essential role in this. Since 2019, the share of green electricity has been continuously increased and is now already over 60 percent worldwide. The power purchase agreement strengthens the company's independence from natural gas at its German site and makes it less vulnerable to price fluctuations.

"We are searching for solutions that are economically reasonable and meet our sustainability ambitions. When selecting our partners, we pay particular attention to regional proximity. In Next Energy, we have found a partner that precisely fits this strategy," emphasizes Svea Scherleithner, Global Head of Sustainability at Heraeus Precious Metals. With a term of 20 years, the two companies have succeeded in entering into a pioneering cooperation. This shows how serious they are about developing new ways to sustainably achieve climate goals and implementing them consistently.

Heraeus Precious Metals and Next Energy sign power purchase agreement for electricity from solar plants
From left to right: André Christl (CEO Heraeus Precious Metals), Torsten Eurich (Managing Director Next Energy), Svea Scherleithner (Global Head of Sustainability Heraeus Precious Metals), Felix Pfitzer (Heraeus Site Operations), Fabrice Pfeifer (Next Energy)

Next Energy is the largest provider and operator of solar parks in the Main-Kinzig district. Since 2009, the company has specialized, among other things, in the project planning and construction of ground-mounted photovoltaic systems. Since then, more than 5,000 photovoltaic systems of various types have been realized in the private and commercial sectors. Torsten Eurich, Managing Director of Next Energy, is very satisfied with the conclusion of the contract: "We are pleased to realize this unique project together with Heraeus Precious Metals as a local partner. Together, we want to advance the energy transition and create sustainable added value for the entire region."

Next Energy's solar parks also meet the highest standards from an ecological perspective. Under the motto "Energy generation in harmony with nature and people", ecological erection and operation concepts are drawn up during the planning stage to safeguard nature conservation and are constantly being further developed. For example, Next Energy is the only operator so far to have successfully established a fallow deer population in a solar park. Torsten Eurich continues: "It is important to us to protect nature with our activities. We increase biodiversity on our solar park areas and also take agricultural issues seriously. Thus, we regularly enter into cooperations with local farmers for green fodder production and animal grazing in our solar parks. Likewise, we work with "Main-Kinzig-Blüht" (Main-Kinzig Blooms) to plant flowering meadows and make them accessible to local beekeepers."

Heraeus Precious Metals is also pushing ahead with other projects to switch to renewable energies at the Hanau site: Over the course of 2023, all suitable production buildings, carports, and the roof of the neighboring kindergarten, which is operated by the Heraeus Foundation, will be equipped with solar cells. In total, around 1.5 GWh of green electricity will thus be produced annually on-site.

But projects are also being implemented on a global level: Worldwide, more than half of all Heraeus Precious Metals’ production sites are already equipped with solar systems. These already generate up to 100% of the company's own electricity consumption. By the end of 2023, the remaining sites will follow. In total, the solar systems installed at the worldwide sites will then cover at least 10% of the annual electricity demand.

About Heraeus Precious Metals

Heraeus Precious Metals is globally leading in the precious metals industry. The company is part of the Heraeus Group and covers the value chain from trading to precious metals products to recycling. It has extensive expertise in all platinum group metals as well as gold and silver.

With about 3,000 employees at 15 sites worldwide, Heraeus Precious Metals offers a broad portfolio of products that are essential for many industries such as the automotive, chemicals, semiconductor, pharmaceutical, hydrogen and jewelry industry.

By 2025 Heraeus Precious Metals will be the first company in the industry that operates carbon neutral.

About Heraeus

The Heraeus Group is a broadly diversified and globally leading family-owned technology company, headquartered in Hanau, Germany. The company’s roots go back to a family pharmacy started in 1660. Today, the Heraeus Group includes businesses in the environmental, electronics, health and industrial applications sectors. Customers benefit from innovative technologies and solutions based on broad materials expertise and technological leadership.

In the 2021 financial year, the FORTUNE Global 500 listed group generated revenues of €29.5 billion (US$34.9 billion) with approximately 16,200 employees in 40 countries. Heraeus is one of the top 10 family-owned companies in Germany and holds a leading position in its global markets.

About Next Energy

Next Energy GmbH is the leading company in the field of photovoltaics in the Main-Kinzig district of Hesse. The company's main pillars are photovoltaic systems and storage solutions for private homes, industrial companies and ground-mounted photovoltaic systems. Thus, all previous solar parks in the district were planned and built by Next Energy. In addition to electricity generation, the focus in the planning of the solar parks is on an ecological construction and operation concept. In the area of private houses, there are cooperations with almost all energy suppliers in the Rhine-Main area up to Marburg for the implementation of co-concepts for private roof systems. Based on more than 25 years of experience in the solar industry and equipped with more than 40 employees, the managing director Torsten Eurich is constantly developing new visions for the implementation of the energy turnaround.