Sweden’s Vattenfall to turn Dutch motorway into solar farm

Vattenfall’s image of its pilot scheme to combine energy generation and agriculture
Swedish energy utility Vattenfall has revealed plans to install solar panels on public land along the A6 motorway near the Dutch city of Almere, just outside Amsterdam, PV Magazine reports.

The 20ha roadside park will generate around 17MW of electricity using 25,000 double-sided photovoltaic panels mounted on a tracking system that turns them towards the sun.

Vattenfall said the project, if approved, would be the first subsidy-free solar project in the Netherlands. It expects to complete a tender for a construction team by the end of next year with work on site to begin in 2024.

The company is also working on its “Symbizon” project in the same area. This is intended to show that solar farms can also be real farms by planting crops in the strips between solar panels.

A small test project was launched in the summer and will begin operation in the spring. It will run for four years, during which time the Aeres University of Applied Sciences and organic agriculture company ERF will monitor the effect of the sun-tracking system on crop yield, diseases and ease of use for the farmer.

Carel Kooij, the company’s solar development manager, commented in a press release: “A smart combination of solar panels and strip cultivation preserves the land for food production, improves ecological properties and at the same time provides a positive business case for Vattenfall and the farmer. So it’s a win for all parties.”

A number of the Netherlands’ highways are being exploited for solar power. These include 16MW solar project along the A12 motorway between The Hague and the German border.

In June, four other projects were announced, close to on- and off-ramps of the A7 highway, which connects Zaandam in North Holland with the German border.

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