Largest solar park in the Netherlands is now operational

05 December 2019

The 103 MWp Midden-Groningen Solar Park at Sappemeer is connected to TenneT’s high voltage grid network and commenced full operations. Chint Solar installed approximately 315.000 solar panels on 117 hectares of land. The solar park will be officially opened with a festive event early next year. The solar park supplies at least 32.000 households with renewable electricity, making it currently the largest solar park in the Netherlands.

Oliver Schweininger (Managing Director Chint Solar Europe): “Midden-Groningen is a land mark project in the Netherlands and will contribute significantly to the energy transition. The finalization of a solar park is always special, but this one is extra special for Chint Solar due to the size of the solar park and the technical challenges. The Midden Groningen project is the first solar park in the Netherlands being connected directly to the national transmission grid, and we are proud of this achievement”.

The Midden Groningen solar park also shows that the energy transition can only become reality when all involved parties cooperate closely as a team in a focused manner. Bernardo Silvestre (Head of Business Development, Chint Solar Europe): “The basis for a successful realization of the solar park was the strong cooperation with all key stakeholders such as landowners, neighbors, TenneT, the municipality of Midden-Groningen, the province of Groningen, RVO, construction partners, advisors and various institutions to name a few. We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to everyone involved.”

Another important aspect of the solar park is the landscaping which has been an important topic from the beginning. Diederik Apotheker (Manager Business Development Chint Solar Netherlands): “Input and active cooperation from the local residents was invaluable and made a significant contribution to the landscaping concept of the project. This led to a solar park which fits well in the existing landscape”.

Overall the solar park enhances biodiversity as birds can breed undisturbed and insects find a place among grasses and flowers. Between the solar park and existing houses, a green area with flowers and grasses was created. A hedge of 12.000 trees, including hawthorn and holly, is also planned, in order to create a green barrier that “hides” the solar park and blends it in its surroundings. The grass between and underneath the panels is ‘cut’ by grazing sheep.

Development

The first plans for the Midden-Groningen project were originated by Powerfield four years ago in 2015. Powerfield’s development team agreed with the landowners to develop the project on their land, and commenced with the permitting procedure preparations. Chint Solar took over the project from Powerfield in early 2017 and successfully finalized the development works, including the licensing of a 5 km high voltage cable within less than 2 years, until end of 2018, with its in-house expertise and support from specialized advisors.

Construction

Construction started finally in early 2019. Due to good weather conditions during summer time the construction was finalized as planned by the end of October 2019. High-quality panels, produced by Chint Solar’s sister company Astronergy, were installed. A total of approximately 1.000 km of cable was laid and approximately 85.000 posts were rammed into the ground. Following commissioning by TenneT end of October 2019, the solar park is now fully operational.