Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell is planning to install 48 MW of solar generation capacity near Rijksweg 59, a Dutch highway spanning the provinces of Zeeland, South Holland and North Brabant.
It is not clear whether the solar capacity will line the roadway in a similar manner to the 40km of roadside and central reservation panels national water management agency the Rijkswaterstaat is installing along the A37 in Drenthe province.
Shell’s project, part of a renewable energy cluster which will also feature 15 MW of wind capacity developed by Dutch utility Eneco, has been approved by the municipality of Oosterhout, in North Brabant.
“To become energy neutral in Oosterhout, large scale generation of clean energy is necessary,” said mayor Marcel Willemsen, adding residential and commercial and industrial installations alone would not suffice.
The mayor said a long approval process remained for the Shell scheme, including a public consultation exercise. As part of the process, Shell and Enerco will have to seek permission to change the land use of the site for 25 years.
The potential of Dutch highways to host solar has been highlighted since October 2017, when Netherlands-based construction firm Heijmans announced plans to install noise barrier-integrated bifacial solar modules along several major roads. Heijmans’ first project, finalized in February last year, was a 400m stretch of the A50 near the southeastern town of Uden.
The Rijkswaterstaat had, in July 2017, announced an intent to develop clean energy capacity on bodies of water and public land. In September 2018, the agency also revealed plans to test the feasibility of solar roads as an alternative to conventional ground-mounted solar projects. “Finding space for the generation of solar energy requires creativity,” the agency said at the time.
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