Over Morgen was asked to participate as an independent consultant in the development of a solar farm on the Hemmen estate.
The solar farm to be installed in Overbetuwe will cover an area of approximately 21 hectares and comprise approximately 65.000 panels with a peak capacity of ca. 19MWp. This solar farm should generate the same amount of electricity per year as 5000 households consume annually, i.e. a quarter of the households in the municipality of Overbetuwe. This initiative is a big step towards meeting the municipal energy goals.
We have helped the initiators of the Hemmen Solar Farm project by requesting the environmental permit in coordination with the municipality, as well as by drafting the design drawings and undergoing consultations with the stakeholders, among which railway infrastructure manager ProRail, electricity transmission system operator TenneT and the Water Authority. We have also filed the request for the SDE subsidy based on the current financial state of the business case.
Prerequisites for solar panels
The area designated for the project is situated in the middle of large-scale infrastructures: between the railway line Elst-Tiel and the A15-Betuweroute corridor. The project fits perfectly in the concept of the Sustainable Transport Corridor Betuwe, which has the goal, among others, to make good use of the potential for generation of renewable energy. The options for using the land for agricultural purposes are quite limited; therefore, the owner wants to utilise it for the energy transition.
One of the main challenges was combining the solar panels with the TenneT high voltage route, which runs above the ground across the entire planning area. Over Morgen has reached an agreement with TenneT on the conditions for the installation of solar panels under the high voltage route, enabling a multiple use of the area for solar energy and high voltage conduction.
Another challenge was fitting the solar farm in the current landscape, while maintaining and supporting its current structures. The design chosen for the solar farm took ample consideration of the open landscape by limiting the panels in height. The orientation of the installation also emphasizes the structure of the landscape by highlighting the existing waterways and land plots. Landscape improvements are not limited to planting greenery around the solar farm; the project makes a financial contribution to enable the return of a natural, local water flow and to expand the hiking trail network on the Hemmen estate. This fits perfectly well with Over Morgen’s philosophy: solar farms have to contribute to the local environment.
Once the municipality issued the environmental permit and no complaints were raised, Over Morgen filed the request for the SDE+ subsidy, which is currently being processed by the government. We at Over Morgen are very proud of our contribution to this inspiring project.