Dutch milk producer FrieslandCampina plans giant rooftop PV project

The Dutch dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina has announced that the Netherlands’ Ministry of Economic Affairs has allocated around €200 million in incentives for the installation of commercial PV arrays on 310 facilities of its members under the SDE+ program for large-scale renewable energy projects.

The cooperative said that around 416,000 solar modules will be used for the project and that a surface of approximately 100 football fields (670,000 m2) will be required. The PV systems, which will cover about 20% of the power demand of the facilities, will be installed by local rooftop specialist GroenLeven Heerenveen. FrieslandCampina specified that its members will be eventually entitled to buy the leased solar systems and the associated SDE+ incentives.

The initiative is part of FrieslandCampina’s solar program (Solar-programma), which encourages its member companies to adopt solar leasing solutions offered by GroenLeven. The cooperative is also supporting the production of clean power through a bonus of €10 per ton of reduced carbon emissions.

FrieslandCampina, which is the world’s largest dairy co-operative with offices in 33 countries, employs approximately 22,000 people worldwide.

The SDE+ (Stimulering Duurzame Energieproductie) program for large-scale solar and renewable energy power projects compensates for the difference between the cost price of renewable energy and the market value of the energy supplied. Only PV projects with a power greater than 15 kW and a large-scale energy connection are eligible for SDE+ subsidies. The “autumn round” for 2017 is expected to open between September and October.

The Dutch government allocated approximately €12 billion for the program in 2017. Although the first SDE 2017 round 1 (the so-called “spring round”) had a budget of €6 billion, the Ministry of Economy said that the incentive budget for all submitted bids has reached €7.13 billion. The second round (the “autumn round”) planned for this year is expected to get the same amount of €6 billion.