Solar park Berkelweide
TPSolar is currently realizing its second solar park in Lochem: Solar park Berkelweide. The solar park has a surface area of approximately 9.5 hectares and is located just outside the center of Lochem, at the intersection of the N346 and the Twente Canal and on the north side of the Berkel river. In total, approximately 21,600 solar panels will generate approximately 9.7 megawatt peak of sustainable energy. In comparison, this is similar to the annual energy consumption of more than 2,700 average households. The solar park is scheduled to be operational in the first quarter of 2021.
The current land owner of the plot was a retired dairy farmer from Laren, a village belonging to the municipality of Lochem. He leased the land to his successor, who used the land for grass production. The solar park presented a great opportunity for the successor. With the proceeds he can acquire a better plot closer to his farm and build a new barn, in order to guarantee the continuity of his dairy farm.
The solar park is located right next to the substation of grid operator Liander. As a result, the social costs remain limited, because the cable does not have to be installed in the ground. The plan area is located in the Berkeldal, but forms a more independent area. There are no immediate residents, the nearest house / farm is more than 280 meters away. Due to the slightly elevated N346 and the vegetation behind it, there is no view of the plan location from the built-up core of Lochem. Along the Berkel, in collaboration with the water board, a 15-meter-wide nature strip will be constructed across the full width, and a 15-meter-wide flower strip with various large bee hotels will be built right through the solar park.
The construction activities are expected to be largely completed by the end of October. This is followed by a period of more than a month and a half in which the last small things are completed and all parts of the installation are tested and inspected, executed by independent specialists. Completion will depend on, among other things, Liander's planning with regard to the laying of the cable to the adjacent high-voltage substation. From mid-November 2020, the plants will be planted.
TPSolar attaches great importance to fitting in the wishes of the immediate neighbors. They were informed about and involved in the design and construction of the solar park through information evenings and neighborhood meetings. When the solar park is operational, residents of Lochem can participate financially in the solar park, with priority. Details about this will be announced in early 2021. In addition, TPSolar is the main sponsor of the Zonnebloemlint in Lochem, it looks into how LochemEnergie can be supported, and local companies are used for all kinds of activities during and after construction. A green electricity supply will be set up for the neighbors of Solar park Berkelweide, motocross club MACSEV (they are now dependent on a diesel generator). There will also be a rest point for cyclists and pedestrians with a picnic table and an information board along the Kanaaldijk. At the information board, there will be a view through the green enclosure so that people that are interested can see the solar park.
Berkelweide as a testing ground
The location of Zonnepark Berkelweide makes it an ideal location to conduct research into innovative techniques and developments in the field of solar energy. For this reason, TPSolar will set up various test setups at Zonnepark Berkelweide in the spring of 2021 to gain experience with agricultural applications between and under the panels. Berkelweide also has a test environment with hundreds of so-called bifacial solar panels. This is one of the latest developments in solar panel technology. These panels have the feature that they can convert light to energy on both sides. In the coming period, it will be investigated what effects these panels have on the yield of the solar panels, as well as on soil vegetation. TPSolar can then use this information in its other projects in the Netherlands.
SDE + Subsidy
TPSolar received the SDE + subsidy for Zonnepark Berkelweide in the spring of 2020. The SDE + subsidy (SDE, later SDE +, from 2020 SDE ++) is a ministerial subsidy scheme to stimulate the production of clean and sustainable energy.