Developers building solar parks along Dutch highway


Rijkswaterstaat – the water management agency of the Netherlands, under the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management – has revealed four large-scale PV projects that are being developed close to on-ramps and off-ramps of the A7 highway, which connects Zaandam, in the province of North Holland, to the German border.

The solar plants will be built near the municipalities of Wognum, Abbekerk, Medemblik, and Middenmeer. They are being developed under the Regional Energy Strategy Noord-Holland Noord (RES) energy-transition program. The four on-ramps and off-ramps of the A7 will be the first to host PV installations, the agency said.

The A7 highway in the Netherlands

Image: Erwin85, wikimedia commons

Rijkswaterstaat said the solar parks will be installed on residual spaces along the highway, larger areas near the road, and within junctions and connections. It did not provide any additional details about the projects.

It also plans to build a large-scale solar plant along Highway 35 in the northeastern Netherlands, and a solar park along the A37 in Drenthe province. Shell also plans to install 48 MW of solar capacity near Rijksweg 59, a highway that spans the provinces of Zeeland, South Holland and North Brabant.

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An artist's impression of one of the four planned solar parks.

Image: Rijkswaterstaat

The potential for Dutch highways to host solar has been highlighted since October 2017, when construction contractor Heijmans announced plans to install noise barrier-integrated bifacial solar modules along several major roads. Its first project, finalized in February 2020, was a 400-meter stretch of the A50 near the town of Uden.

In July 2017, the Rijkswaterstaat announced plans to develop clean energy capacity on bodies of water and public land. In September 2018, it 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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