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A Modern Enterprise Driven by Passion and a Sense of Mission

It was the 1970s when the world was changing radically. Idealism and passion spawned ever more transformative projects that would permanently change the world. Driven by ecological passion and feelings of responsibility for society and the environment, nine students started in 1979 the Wagner & Co enterprise, now Wagner Solar GmbH, aiming to contribute to the energy supply of the future.

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Our First Solar Installation in Summer 1978

We installed our first solar array in 1978, even before starting our company in 1979. We were a jolly bunch of driven college students and launched the Marburger Energiegruppe (Marburg Energy Group) together. We were into themes like wind power, biogas, pyrolysis, solar energy and alternative building. At regular meetings we shared experiences, books and periodicals and had lively discussions. Some progressed to action and built their first small demonstration solar hot water system.

The first Customer

Our first customer was a woman who found out about us from an alternative magazine. Enthused by the idea not to have to fire up her hot water system in summer, she commissioned us to build a solar thermal one.

After several retrofits that system is still heating water for its owner. Our first customer is very special to us. Aged 87, she opened our new collector factory in Kirchhain in 2008.

 

Our Second Solar Installation in Autumn 1978

Word got around about the successful construction of our first solar system, prompting our second in autumn 1978, for a private children’s home in Ehringen near Kassel. About 20 people there had to be supplied with hot water. That needed 20m² of solar collectors and two storage tanks holding 500 liters each. After about four weeks of building that included a few challenges, the system was started up, to the joy of all concerned.

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Young Entrepreneurs

That second order lent us wings and inspired us to keep going. The idea to start our own company came up. In June 1979 we received official notification of registration as “Wagner & Co GmbH, Herstellung und Vertrieb umweltfreundlicher Erzeugnisse“ (Wagner & Co Pty. Ltd., manufacture and sales of environment-friendly products). Over time, our focus on solar energy products became predominant. From the start we were certain that solar energy pays. More than 30 years of success has proved us right.

 

The First German Solar Power Plant - Spring 1988

Peter Jacobs, physicist and co-founder of Wagner & Co Solartechnik GmbH, from 1981 concentrated on building up our solar power business. In 1988 he installed Germany’s first commercial grid-feeding solar installation in Staufenberg near Giessen (about 80 km due north of Frankfurt/Main). A film crew of the ARD public television network shot the project. The report aired in July 1988 in the prominent national economics TV show, Plus-Minus. In the spring of 1989 the array was upscaled to 1,088 watts and fitted with an improved grid feeding power inverter. Over the years the solar generator moved several times together with its owner. In 2008, as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, we were able to buy back what we believe was Germany’s first commercial grid feeding solar power plant.

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High-Tech Made in Germany

For our first solar assembly kits we used parts used in greenhouse construction. With pioneering spirit, engineering knowhow, much patience and love of perfection we researched and analyzed all aspects of solar energy. These days we develop and produce many components ourselves. We see technology and ecology closely interwoven. Only if we can use all state-of-the-art technical possibilities ecologically responsibly will we be able to keep raising the quality and efficiency of our products.

 

Milesstones

Much has changed in 37 years. We have grown into one of the most capable European suppliers of solar power and solar thermal systems provider. However, the solar crisis of recent years did not leave us unaffected either. Since September 2014 we are a subsidiary of Sanderink Holding under the leadership of the Dutch entrepreneur Gerard Sanderink. The Wagner Solar GmbH continues the business activities with the industry-experienced lawyer Brigitte van Egten as managing director. She looks back on many years of close business partnership with Wagner Solar. With approximately 80 employees at our existing premises in Cölbe and Kirchhain in Germany, we continue the operation of the business division’s solar thermal energy, solar power and power storages, TRIC mounting systems as well as other sustainable energy products under the established brand name “Wagner Solar”.

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