Solarcentury building largest solar farm in the Netherlands


British solar developer Solarcentury has teamed up with Dutch energy cooperation Amelander Energy Cooperative (AEC) and sustainable energy supplier Eneco to construct a 6 MW solar PV plant on Ameland Island.

Once completed, the solar farm will be the largest single installation in the Netherlands, delivering enough clean solar energy to service the needs of 1,500 local households and thus reducing the West Frisian island’s dependence on fossil fuels from the mainland.

According to Solarcentury, the solar farm will be built on Ameland’s airfield – a location that poses some unique logistical challenges that the company is confident it can overcome having previously successfully completed the Blackfriars Bridge installation in London.

"The basis for Solar Park Ameland is a unique collaboration between three different, but complementary, parties being the municipality of Ameland, the local energy cooperation AEC and sustainable energy supplier Eneco," said Solar Park Ameland director Michiel van Beek. "All have the goal to build a solar farm for the locals and contributing to the island’s sustainability ambitions."

van Beek spoke about the desire among all three parties to ensure that the solar farm is as carefully integrated into the local landscape as possible, citing their pleasure that Solarcentury was awarded the contract under the European tender.

Solarcentury, as well as connecting the Blackfriars Bridge PV system under challenging conditions, has developed a handful of British solar farms that are sympathetic to the agricultural land upon they sit, and have developed a sustainable construction and logistics process that minimizes site disruption during the building phase, as well as afterwards.

Dennis de Jong, Solarcentury’s director of the Benelux region, said that winning this project as part of the European tender process was a demonstration of "the confidence in Solarcentury and our our commercial-scale project experience".

"Ameland Solar Park furthers our ambition to offer customers around the world solar energy with maximum yield at low risk," he added. "It’s encouraging to see Dutch people looking to solar as a way to reduce carbon emissions."

Construction will begin in September, with connection to the national grid scheduled for early 2016. For Solarcentury, the project augments the company’s international pipeline, which includes 10 MW solar farm in Panama and the development of the largest solar carport in East Africa.

For the Netherlands, the solar farm is just one of a series of encouraging PV additions that the country is set to make in 2015. Figures from the country show that the sale of solar module has increased by between 70 – 100% this year as the Dutch set ambitious targets to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. Around two million solar panels are expected to be sold in the Netherlands this year alone.

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