His Majesty King Willem-Alexander opens Solar Park Hollandia Nieuw-Buinen21 May 2021
Innovative partnership leads to unique solar park
His Majesty King Willem-Alexander today officially opened the Hollandia Nieuw-Buinen Solar Park. After the opening ceremony, in the presence of a small group of invited guests, King Willem-Alexander was given a tour of the park. The King spoke with local residents about the consultation process, with technicians about the challenges they faced in the construction of the park and with representatives of the initiators Avitec infra & milieu, Solarfields Nederland and Royal Avebe about the cooperation during this project.
Avitec and Solarfields started the development of the solar park in 2017. With an annual energy production of 120 megawatts, this project will provide more than 35,000 households with sustainable energy. The 300,000 panels, spread over 100 hectares, will save over 45,000 tons of CO2 a year.
The park was created in consultation with local residents and nearby companies and takes innovative approaches to making the energy transition more sustainable. Renewable energy production often has a direct impact on the shared living environment, including the use of space and noise pollution. For this reason, the initiators wanted to be sure of sufficient support before they made a start with applying for permits and the zoning plan. The support created in the initiation phase ultimately led to zero protests being received in the licensing and zoning planning process.
Unique solar park
The solar park has a unique dual function. The solar panels are situated above Avebe’s former water courses. This area is also used as a buffer basin for the water treatment plant of Avebe’s potato starch factory in Gasselternijveen. A dike has been built around the solar park to hide it from view. This is done using (among other things) the soil that arrives with the potatoes when they are delivered to Avebe.
The project also features an innovative solution to relieve the limited grid capacity. Avebe supplies residual energy directly to the electricity grid via its combined heat and power plant. If capacity and space remain, the solar park can use this capacity to supply even more energy to the grid. That means there are two energy sources using the same cables and grid space. This form makes it unique by Dutch standards.
As well as energy generation and supply, research is also being conducted with the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen into energy storage. This study is looking into the possibilities of pumping the stored water from one basin to the adjacent basin using a screw pump when there is an excess of electricity. During the night, this water flows back via a screw generator and is converted back into electricity.
Photos: Marcel Jurian de Jong