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The Gooiker family now harvests solar energy in their fields

17 September 2020

EQUANS installed the largest private solar park in the Netherlands (117,416 solar panels) on the Gooiker family’s agricultural land in Voorst. The proceeds from this impressive solar farm will provide 12,000 families with renewable energy over the next 20 years.

The Gooiker family was looking for an alternative to exploit the 38 ha of agricultural land around their farm. They came to EQUANS to find out if we could help them find a technical solution to develop a profitable solar farm. A project that is realigned with EQUANS’ strategy to help its customers in their low carbon transition. In addition to developing our own solar parks, we have developed into a flexible partner in recent years and can help customers develop customised solar systems. Regardless of whether this concerns private solar roofs or large solar parks for companies, energy cooperatives or private initiatives. And so, a solar farm that will produce 43 GWh annually sprouted up in the fields instead of maize.

Quality for the long term

Sustainability was a crucial concept for the Gooiker family, and not only in their choice of green energy. In order for their investment to pay off for at least 20 years, every part of the installation had to pass the long-term test. This means, for example, that the construction built by EQUANS can withstand changing climatic conditions, such as higher wind speeds. At the same time, the solar panels must be able to withstand a hail shower with balls up to 2.4 cm in size, and so EQUANS opted for a solution that could withstand more extreme conditions.

panneaux solaires
panneaux solaires

EPC Contract

As an EPC contractor, EQUANS was responsible for all the activities on the solar park, while its sister company, ENGIE I&M, looked after the connection to the grid operator. Because soil studies had shown that the subsurface is unstable in certain places, the piles for the construction were driven between 2.5 to more than 3 metres deep. During the works, the strict safety measures implemented due to the corona pandemic were the only things that caused delays. However, thanks to excellent weather in the spring and summer, the EQUANS teams were able to complete the construction of the site on time, after barely nine months of work.

Impressive solar system of 117,416 solar panels

The impressive solar system was connected to the distribution network. 226 inverters ensure the direct current produced by the 117,416 solar panels is converted to alternating current. Spread across the site, the EQUANS teams have built another 15 transformer stations to scale up power from 600 V to 33 kV. The energy then goes to the grid via a customer substation. Since the grid operator in Voorst no longer had free capacity, a 1.5-km underground cable had to be installed next to the nearby A1 and under the IJssel River to the nearest Enexis substation.

panneaux solaires
panneaux solaires

Guaranteed production

When deciding where to place the solar panels, the EQUANS teams had to take into account the shade created by the trees and hedges on the site. The owner’s wishes to safeguard the view from his home, as well as ease of maintenance, were also important points of attention. The solar panels have therefore been installed in eight-row groups on a construction that slopes 12 degrees, with the maximum height being 2.25 metre. Access corridors have been created to make the installation accessible.

Operation and maintenance for 20 years

Operation and maintenance have also been assigned to EQUANS for the next 20 years. We can monitor the site remotely using CCTV cameras. Another monitoring system ensures EQUANS is kept informed of energy production in real time. This makes it possible to intervene quickly if something goes wrong. Finally, sheep are used to manage the grassland under the solar panels. The animals ensure the agricultural function of the site is largely preserved, as well as to ensure the biodiversity will receive a boost in the coming years.

paysage campagne
117416
solar panels
43 GWh
Annual production of the solar park.
9
Months for the construction of the site.
117416
solar panels
43 GWh
Annual production of the solar park.
9
Months for the construction of the site.
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