Coming to a rooftop near you - selected supermarket logistics centres aross Europe are soon to be adorned with solar cell systems, after discount food supermarket giant Lidl entered into an agreement with Belgium's Enfinity N.V. and SolarMarkt AG of Germany.

The framework agreement between Lidl Stiftung, based in Neckarsulm, and both Enfinity and SolarMarkt relates to the installation and maintenance of solar systems on logistics centres of Lidl in Europe.

The general project will be realised through a joint venture of the companies SolarMarkt AG and Enfinity, based in Frankfurt am Main. Lidl is planning to make a multi-million Euro investment in solar systems for the generation of electricity on the buildings of its European subsidiaries.

Focus on solar
The announcement comes at a time when solar cells, photovoltaics (PV) and the range of specialty gases used are growing at a phenomenalrate of pace. PV production plants are emerging throughout Europe and both the North and South Pacific Rim regions, with gases consumption intrinsically linked and set to spike in demand as a result.

A number of the industrial gas majors, such as The Linde Group, Air Liquide and Air Products, have already secured significant supply contracts across the globe - with many more surely to follow as the industry continues to burgeon.

Lidl is one of the leading discount food supermarkets in many European countries and owns numerous buildings used for logistics and sales purposes. In the future, Lidl will focus on equipping these buildings with solar technology, for the generation of environmentally friendly electricity.

The company has already been contributing to the protection of the environment and the improvement of energy efficiency. As early as 2006 for example, a solar system was put into operation on the roof of the logistics centre in Hartheim, Germany.

Enfinity and SolarMarkt AG will use special substructure systems and different solar module types for the large roof surfaces, which will guarantee the successful operation of the solar systems on a long-term basis.

Preparations for the installation of the solar systems are already underway, with work set to start in several countries in the coming months. In addition to Germany, the systems will also be installed in Belgium, Italy, Spain, France, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.