Photovoltaics at Messe München—a milestone in renewable

Photovoltaics in large dimensions

In total, the three PV systems on the roofs of Messe München produce 2.6 million kwh of green electricity.

1 million kwh of green electricity on the B halls (1998) and 1.6 million kwh of green electricity on the multi-storey car park (2004) and the A halls (2002).

The two plants on the roofs of the A-halls and the multi-storey car park, which were built later, supply the city of Munich with green electricity.

The use of solar energy for the three systems on the roofs of Messe München has prevented the emission of an average of around 1,460 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year over the last 24 years.

The Messe München solar roof is a milestone in renewable energies - in 1998, for the first time in the world, a megawatt-sized rooftop PV system was installed on the six B halls of the trade fair centre.

The 1 MW PV system generates around 1 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which goes directly into the trade fair's supply network and feeds the charging stations for e-mobility, for example.

Another special feature of the 1MW PV system: the scientific monitoring of the project. All data on the ambient conditions (global radiation, temperature) and the corresponding behaviour of the system (currents, voltages, power) can be traced back to minute values. The complete documentation of more than 25 years of operation of a PV plant is unique.

Characteristics of the 1 MW PV plant

ConstructionProject planningfrom August 1995


19 November 1997

Project costs

approx. 7 million euros

Start of construction

August 1997

Solar generator


7,812 frameless 130 Watt solar modules (SM 130-L) from Siemens, each with 84 monocrystalline silicon cells, efficiency approx. 14%.


1,016 kilowatts (1.016 megawatts)

Module area

7,916 m²

Roof area used for solar

38,100 m²
(existing roof area: 66,000 m²)


south, inclined 28° to the horizontal

Power conversion


three inverters Siemens UPS series 42 with 394 kVA each (until 2007: 330 kVA) in master/slave operation

Mode of operation

feeding into the 20,000-volt medium-voltage grid of the trade fair centre; use of solar power directly by the trade fair centre

Solar energy in Munich

Global radiation

1,295 kWh/m² (average 1998–2018)


approx. 1,700 h/a; full load hours: approx. 1,000 h/a

Solar power generation

Energy yield

approx. 1 million kWh/a
= approx. 4% of the annual fair electricity demand
= approx. 50% of the electricity demand in fair-free periods
= electricity demand of 340 German households

Progress needs partners

Bayernwerk, Siemens and Stadtwerke München financed this progressive 7-million-euro project, with additional funding coming from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Research. Messe München provided the roof space free of charge.

After the plant was handed over, the shares in the company held by Bayernwerk and Siemens were donated to the newly founded Solar Energy Promotion Association of Bavaria, which uses the proceeds from the feed-in tariff to promote new regenerative projects and has used over EUR 4 million for this purpose since 1998. In 2017, Messe München took over the PV system.

Financing of the 1 MW PV plant

  • Bayernwerk 50%
  • Federal Ministry of Research 10%
  • Munich Municipal Works 10%
  • Siemens 10%
  • Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs 20%

The system completes Messe München's environmentally friendly energy supply concept. Messe München was the first exhibition centre in the world to have a photovoltaic system with a nominal output of one megawatt.

25 years ago, the photovoltaic roof of Messe München set a milestone in photovoltaics. It is impressive that the high-quality modules from German production still show virtually no degradation today and reliably supply us with PV electricity.

Selzer, Betina
  • Executive Director
  • Central Construction and Technology Division