Largest solar park in the district of Südwestpfalz, which was put into operation in 2012 as a successful conversion project in the area of a former poison gas storage facility of the US armed forces. 13,600 solar modules with an output of 3.2 megawatts feed around 3 million kilowatt hours into the regional power grid every year. This corresponds to the consumption of around 600 households and a CO2 saving of around 2,500 tons per year. This means that the municipality of Clausen with its 530 households has become more than climate-neutral since the solar park was fully connected to the grid.
The solar park is located on a former conversion area, hidden from view in a forest clearing. When planning and implementing the 7-hectare project, particular attention was paid to the protection of the landscape and nature. Contrary to the usual metal stand construction, the solar panels are mounted on wooden posts from regional oak forests. Another aspect of resource conservation is that it was possible to dispense with a new building by using the path infrastructure of the former depot. In addition to the compulsory state maintenance measures, a biotope and a snake castle were set up on the conversion area.
The US armed forces previously kept an unprecedented chemical weapons arsenal in Europe in the high-security depot of this former poison gas storage facility for around 25 years. For a long time without knowledge of politics and the population. Around 400 tons of the chemical warfare agents sarin and VX were stored in 15 bunkers within the approximately 17 hectare depot. According to experts, this amount of deadly neurotoxin would have been enough to wipe out several hundred million lives. In 1990 these were transported away for destruction. The civil-military operation under the code name “Aktion Lindwurm” made international headlines at the time.
After the depot was released from military use in 1993, a private buyer was initially unable to implement his development ideas. It was only through the buyback and the commitment of the Clausen local community from 2010 that the large-scale solar project could be realized with the help of stakeholders from business and politics.