Solar farms connect to a high-power grid

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Energy specialist Alfen has been selected by Solarcentury to provide the high-voltage power grid connections for a 17.5 megawatt-peak (MWp) solar farm at the location of recycling company Twence in Enschede, the Netherlands as well as for a solar farm of approximately 45 MWp at the location of zinc smelting company Nyrstar in Budel, the Netherlands.

Solarcentury is a solar developer, owning and operating large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects. Alfen has been supporting Solarcentury with solutions for multiple smaller solar PV farms in the recent years. In 2016, Alfen connected a 6 MWp solar farm on the island of Ameland in the Netherlands, which was the largest Dutch solar farm at that time. In 2016 and 2017, Alfen was engaged by Solarcentury for two smaller solar farms, of 1.3 MWp and 1.5 MWp respectively, at the location of recycling company Twence in Enschede, the Netherlands.

The roll-out of solar PV farms is gaining speed in the Netherlands, both in terms of numbers and size. With over 60,000 solar panels, approximately 20 hectares and a capacity of 17.5 MWp, the project at Twence can provide energy for approximately 4,500 households. The project at Nyrstar is even bigger, with over 150,000 solar panels covering 60 hectares and with a capacity of approximately 45 MWp. For both projects Alfen’s scope of supply includes the engineering, project management, installation, commissioning and service of the local micro-grids, including the delivery of Alfen’s innovative 2,500 kVA solar PV substations and the realisation of the central grid connection.

Rick Fransen, business development at Solarcentury Benelux, commenting on the arrangement said: “Our global development pipeline is currently more than 3 GWp of which more than 400 MWp in the Netherlands. As capacities and voltages are increasing, we have been looking for new solutions to maximise energy efficiency while minimising costs. Alfen has developed a tailor-made and integrated grid connection solution to support these new developments in solar PV projects, which further supports our business cases.”

 

Strategy on solar PV

Richard Jongsma, commercial director at Alfen, commented: “We are very pleased with this continuation and expansion of our relationship with Solarcentury. These projects fit perfectly in our strategy, part of which is the expansion into the solar PV segment. We supply local micro-grids and grid connections, among others to solar farms. In doing so, our vast experience with the electricity networks of the grid operators is essential. We can support in addressing the challenges arising from the energy transition with our transformer substations, but also with our smart EV chargers and energy storage systems that can be used, among others, to balance the fluctuating output of solar PV farms. Through the collaboration with Solarcentury, Alfen can further demonstrate the quality of its solutions in the heart of the energy transition.” 

Both projects are expected to be completed in 2018.