Solar park Armhoede in Lochem is in operation

The electric connection of Solar park Armhoede in Lochem has been made operational In May. After the necessary tests, the solar park is officially providing green energy to the grid. In doing so, it is not only the first large solar park in Lochem, but it is also the first one to be operational.

The solar park is realised on Armhoede, which is a former landfill. Consisting of 23.000 solar panels, the park generates 8.9-megawatt peak of electricity. This is similar to the yearly consumption of about 2.500 households.

Difficult constructional process
René Hendriks, director of TPSolar is pleased that the solar park is connected, although a lot of work has proceeded with this connection. “Building a solar park on a former landfill is a complex process”, he explained. “Armhoede is a ‘dump’ that sticks out 25 meters above the surroundings. The landfill is covered with a few layers and has various pipes and facilities that have to stay intact, both during and after the construction.”

TPSolar already realised a solar park on a former landfill in Dordrecht. It also has received the permit for a planned solar park on a landfill in Uden. “We have gained quite some experience with realising solar parks on landfills, but every project is different”, Hendriks continues. “I’m pleased that we, together with different experts and stakeholders, have realised this project in Lochem successfully.”

Construction after connection
The construction of solar park Armhoede started in September 2019 and was finished after about three months. The grid connection, however, took longer. The cable that connects the solar park to the high-voltage substation of Liander at the Kanaaldijk should have been connected in December 2019 already. However, because of multiple setbacks with the licensing and the coordination with Rijkswaterstraat the planning had a considerable delay.

Landfill a suitable location for a solar park
A landfill is often seen as a suitable location for a solar park because in this way there is ‘beneficial’ use of the soil, which once was a place to dump waste. The municipality of Lochem agrees. The alderman Henk van Zeijts is the portfolio manager for sustainability. “The Netherlands faces a big challenge of generating clean energy, which means that also in our municipality more solar parks and wind turbines will come,” explains Van Zeijts. “However, it is not easy to place them. Solar park Armhoede is an example of smart use of space: generating clean energy on a former landfill”.

Watch our video of project Armhoede – Lochem

Many landfills are too far from an electrical outlet, or they are not fully covered, or they are too small to receive the large extra costs back. “When you take these criteria into account, many landfills are rejected in advance,” says Hendriks. “This makes it extra special that we realised three of these projects”

Participation and attention for the environment
Some people live next to or close to former landfills. “Wherever you want to realise something in the Netherlands, you are often close to someone’s backyard”, explains project developer Stephan Roijers of TPSolar. “Because of this, there will be resistance and even more in rural areas. This means that you have to stay in contact with people, you have to stay open for what they want and you have to give them the chance to get used to the idea”.

The local residents were informed through information evenings and neighbourhood meetings and they were involved in the design and construction. On request of the residents, TPSolar has planted greenery to ensure that the visibility of the panels is restricted to a minimum. TPSolar has also been transparent about preliminary searches and safety aspects.

The current situation and plans for the official opening
In the past months, a local landscaping company planted a dozen extra trees and thousands of bushes around the solar park. On the upper part of the ‘hill’, almost 1 hectare of flowery herbs is sown. Eight large bee hotels will be placed in June, which TPSolar has developed itself and which are constructed in a social workplace.”We want to organize a festive opening of the solar park” says René Hendriks. “If this opening will take place before or after the summer is dependent on the Covid-19 situation”. TPSolar also starts constructing its second solar park in Lochem after the summer, at the Kanaaldijk.

Receiving electricity from solar park Armhoede?
The electricity from solar park Armhoede will be supplied to energy company Vandebron. Residents of Lochem and other people that are interested can consume green energy from the solar park via this energy company. New customers receive a discount of € 100,- on their first annual statement. Registration goes via the following link:  https://bit.ly/3bZZ9IO