Low Carbon, the global renewable energy company, has announced that construction has begun of four solar farms in the Netherlands. The solar farms will have a combined installed capacity of 53.1 MWp from more than 88 000 solar modules. The projects are the first to be financed by the renewable energy investor’s multi-bank debt facility, established in August with NatWest, Lloyds Bank, and AIB. In total, the facility is anticipated to create at least 1 GW of new renewable energy capacity, with the potential to provide clean, affordable power to more than 360 000 homes and avoid 308 000 t of CO2e.
The solar farms are the latest instalments in the company’s growing international portfolio, as it scales up in pursuit of its ambition to create 20 GW of new renewable energy capacity by 2030. The biggest of the four largest projects, Ter Apel (26.7 MWp), will be based in the province of Groningen. A solar farm will also be constructed in Overijssel (7.4 MWp) in addition to two projects near Wijk bij Duurstede, in the province of Utrecht (10.3 MWp and 8.7 MWp). All solar farms have been developed by LC Energy, Low Carbon’s joint venture with engineering firm Qing. LC Energy will support the projects through construction and into operation.
To deliver the projects and limit environmental interference, Low Carbon has partnered with the German-based solar specialist BELECTRIC. Low Carbon and BELECTRIC are united in their considered approach to development. Numerous ecological assessments have taken place to create tailored construction plans for each site.
Wijkerbroek site to trial agrophotovoltaics with leading research institutions
The determination of Low Carbon and its partners to protect biodiversity has already been proven by the Wijkerbroek West project. At the site, solar panels will be built above pear trees to form a light and water permeable roof. The purpose of this process, known as agrophotovoltaics, is to maximise the use of agricultural land available for renewable energy projects. The project will also incorporate approximately 1 ha. of solar panels in an innovative research initiative known as SolarEcoPlus. Here a range of different module configurations and orientations will be installed to allow for research into the underlying ecology and biodiversity.
This innovative approach was inspired by researchers from Wageningen University and TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), who will study the effects of solar fields on biodiversity at the Wijkerbroek West site. The objective of this study will be to highlight the viability of such projects and inform future policy development. Early findings suggest that agrophotovoltaic projects support a more diverse plant life and can improve the quality of soil.
Commenting on the announcement, Roy Bedlow, Chief Executie and Founder at Low Carbon, said: “Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for Low Carbon. The four large scale projects will be the first financed by our multi-bank financing facility, enabling 1 GW of new solar capacity. They also are the latest instalment in our growing international portfolio, and further evidence of our ambition to create 20 GW of renewable energy capacity by the end of this decade.
“We are also honoured that our sites will be hosting pioneering research, ensuring more land can be used for both energy and agricultural purposes. Amid a climate and energy crisis, this is of paramount importance to Low Carbon.”
Esther Jantosch, Head of Sales Netherlands at BELECTRIC, added: “We are proud to have partnered with Low Carbon. Their ambitious goals in terms of not only growth but also creating more sustainable energy generation align extremely well with ours. We are excited to work hand-in-hand on their extensive pipeline of solar farms.”
Martin Ruiter from LC Energy stated: “LC Energy is one of the leading developers in the Netherlands. We differentiate ourselves by developing high-quality solar projects which contribute to biodiversity enhancements, stakeholder support, and aid in research programmes. We are delighted to see these solar farms progress into construction with our long-term partner Low Carbon, who will ensure that all these vital aspects of the projects are maintained throughout their full operational life-cycle.”
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Read the article online at: https://www.energyglobal.com/solar/23112022/low-carbon-begins-construction-of-four-large-scale-solar-farms-in-the-netherlands/