Solar park built with energy from own panels through Battery Box
As of spring 2020 one of the biggest floating solar parks of Europe is located on the Bomhofsplas in Zwolle, The Netherlands. Developer GroenLeven has already made clever use of the solar panels during the building process. Through a combination with the Battery Box all electricity required on the construction site was obtained from solar energy.
For GroenLeven, developer of solar energy installations, this is the default. The construction of a new solar project must always be CO₂ neutral or with the lowest emission possible. “We take a broad approach to searching for solutions,” project manager Willem Biesheuvel of GroenLeven explains. “We try to use as many electrical tools and means of transport as possible, to minimize the need for diesel. For instance, we had several electric forklift trucks at the Bomhofsplas. Ideally we would have liked to have all materials delivered by electric trucks. This was not possible, so we chose extra-length economical trailers, in order to reduce the amount of journeys.”
Energy storage is profitable
Using the solar panels of the project to provide the energy required for the construction was an obvious choice. “A battery is an essential then, you need to be able to charge the machines without temporarily shutting down the project. We have a small battery ourselves, but this did not suffice for this project. As such, we were looking for a larger battery, delivered by a reliable supplier who will join the thought process about sustainability. This search soon brought us to Bredenoord’s Battery Box. During the construction period we used 180 floating solar boats near the shore, for “free” solar energy. This was more than enough to charge the Battery Box, even on cloudy days. When the construction of the floating solar park was nearly finished these 180 solar boats were the final puzzle piece to finishing the park. At first glance energy storage doesn’t seem like a cheap solution, but when considering the entire project period you definitely cut back, especially in emission, which is important for obtaining permits. We prefer building without emission, and at the Bomhofsplas we could not have complied to the NOx emission standard without the use of energy storage.”
At the Bomhofsplas we could not have complied to the NOx emission standard without the use of energy storage.
Double use of the available space
When developing solar parks GroenLeven always looks for ways to use the land in multiple ways. “The Bomhofsplas, for example, still functions as a sand extraction site,” says Biesheuvel. “As such, we did not extract a recreational area, but we are using a water surface that has no other use. We are constantly seeking smart solutions.” Nature was kept in mind too. “The ecological value is important, even if the scenery is not under protection. Our inverters and transformators, for instance, lie on the water surface, which means only one cable has to come to land, instead of the usual 5000, disrupting the nature on shore as little as possible. We also built air and light strips in between the panels and hung so-called biohuts on the pontoons in the water, to foster the fish stock. In the near future we will be monitoring these measures, so that we can take our experiences from the Bomhofsplas to new projects as well.”
Bredenoord is always available whenever we have questions about the battery.
Fast service matters
By now the 18 hectare floating solar park generates energy for over 7200 nearby households, since the solar park was taken over by local Blauwvinger in collaboration with Energiefonds Overijssel. Biesheuvel fondly looks back on the construction. “The construction has been almost emission free, so we will be taking this approach to future projects. The collaboration with Bredenoord has been excellent as well. We are, of course, quite familiar with the technique ourselves, but not with the battery. As such, it’s important to receive a fast response to any queries, which Bredenoord excels at. In addition, we value fast delivery and flexibility. We try our best to plan in advance, but in construction things often go slightly different than planned, in which case it’s convenient to have a supplier that can respond accordingly.”