Generating sustainable energy for 5,300 households on an area of 16 hectares. In 2018, Lochem City Council selected three solar park initiatives from TPSolar to develop. Two have already been built: Zonnepark Armhoede and Zonnepark Berkelweide. The solar park on the Bekenschot was paused in September 2020 and the design was modified in December 2022 after new wishes from local residents.
Emphasis on nature development
The proposed location for solar farm Bekenschot is largely in a Green Development Zone. Therefore, the design has been arranged with an eye on improving biodiversity, natural values and obstructing the view of the installation. We used the expertise of Staring Advies, an ecological consultancy based in Hoog-Keppel, in the design of the ecological connections. The ecologist involved has been researching reptiles and amphibians south of Barchem for many years and thus knows the area well. The advisory report of Staring Advies can be read here. The design conforms to the province’s policy rules for this Green Development Zone.
Resident participation has two components: plan participation and financial participation.
In plan participation, you can contribute ideas about the plans, design, layout, management and maintenance of the solar park. Local residents of the solar park are actively involved in this through information on the website and social media, information meetings and kitchen table discussions. Since the start of the development in 2018, local residents have been able to think along with Zonnepark Bekenschot. During the first phase of the application, local residents felt inadequately or incorrectly heard. For this reason, we set aside additional attention and time for information and participation. The plan participation process was resumed in 2022 with additional information meetings and individual interviews. The wishes and ideas put forward by (direct) local residents have been included in discussions with the municipality and with landscape architect and ecologist Staring Advies. A new landscape, technical and ecological layout plan was presented on May 19, 2022.
The group of people interested in this solar farm varies greatly with this project. There are direct neighbors, but also many interested people who do not live nearby. We always respond seriously to reactions from the neighborhood, but the wishes of those living in the immediate vicinity take priority. After all possible comments, a final plan will be made and submitted to the municipality. The municipality will again assess the content of the plan and it will be tested by the province of Gelderland.
Financial participation means co-investing in and/or benefiting from the proceeds of a solar farm. We would like to give not only local residents but all Lochem residents and companies the opportunity to benefit from the revenues of solar park Bekenschot.
The modified plan was submitted to the municipality in June 2023. If the environmental permit is granted, we can apply for SDE subsidy in 2024, after which construction will start in 2025 at the earliest. Capacity to connect the solar park has already been reserved at Liander.
Are you against the solar park?
In addition to substantive questions about the plan, a number of residents have also clearly indicated their opposition in principle to a solar farm at this location. Even if you are against the arrival of a solar farm, it is always useful to respond to the content of the plans. After all, if the project does go ahead, you will at least have been able to give your input.
People with complaints, opinions and questions – which are not directly related to the design of the solar farm – are of course taken seriously, but we cannot convince them by making adjustments to the plan. We therefore focus on the substantive dialogue about the design with local residents. People with objections of principle can always submit an opinion during the permit process, and objections and/or appeals are still possible after the permit has been granted.
Do you have a question about solar park Bekenschot? Please contact developer Emma Hendriks at email@example.com or 023 741 00 44.