A heat wave that brought this week record temperatures to Europe is reportedly the cause of a fire that started on Tuesday at a solar park owned by UK energy company Shell and located in Sas van Gent, in the Dutch province of Zeeland.
“For an unknown reason, the grass around the solar park caught fire,” the municipality's fire department said in a statement. “The dry grass and the strong wind contributed to increasing the fire, which burnt a large area.”
According to Zealand's safety agency Zeeland Veilig, the fire brigade was able to control the fire, which hit an area of around 5,000 square meters, in around two hours. “The fire burnt the grass under the panels and the solar panels were not affected,” the agency said.
The 30 MW Zonnepark Sas van Gent-Zuid solar facility is owned by UK energy company Shell and occupies a surface of 24.2 hectares on an unused industrial surface.
“Hidden from view, involvement of local residents in the construction, located on former industrial lands that can no longer be used for agriculture and in a place where animals can go about their business; that's how every solar park should be,” Shell said in a statement released in March. “Moreover, the large pond in the center of the park remains untouched, to give plants and animal species the space they will need. The management of the wood girths around the park will get extra attention, as bird life will be taken into account.”
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