A creative partnership between Solarfields and Alfen transforms former landfill into The Netherlands’ versatile Zeeland Province solar park
Dutch solar park developer Solarfields premiered its Zonnepark Bontepolder facility in early 2023 with nearly 32,000 solar panels, accompanied by Alfen’s battery storage technology to capture and distribute the carbon-free power they generate. While powering nearly 5,300 homes in the community of Terneuzen, the park is playing a central role in supporting grid stability both in the Zeeland Province and across the Netherlands.
With available land to build solar parks limited in many regions across the Netherlands, one of the country’s leading solar farm developers needed a creative plan to construct a new facility on an unlikely plot of land …a former landfill. Solarfields searched for a partner that could integrate energy storage and redistribution capabilities into the Zonnepark Bontepolder park to serve multiple purposes. First and foremost, the farm needed to deliver reliable power to its Terneuzen community. Equally important, Solarfields needed the park outfitted with capabilities to sell excess energy to the local electricity grid when needed, as well as help manage the area’s grid stability. They found their project partner in Alfen.
As Solarfields neared completion of the new solar park, Alfen’s team joined the project on site to install a 5MW energy storage battery from its TheBattery Elements portfolio. This capacity can be fully charged in just one hour and is sufficient to supply power to ~500 homes in the Zeeland Province for a day. At the same time, the battery can quickly deliver stored power to the Dutch electricity grid. As fast as it can store up the 5MW of carbon-free power, Alfen’s technology can distribute the same capacity in an hour’s time to meet fast-changing energy demands. With the Dutch power grid resetting intraday energy prices every 15 minutes, such flexibility positions Solarfields well to bid for power delivery at any time.
“With this storage capability, Zonnepark can help limit the loss of generated electricity, compensate for gaps between predicted and actual electricity generation at a national level, and contribute locally to reduce grid congestion”, said Gerke Schaap, Project Manager for Storage, Hydrogen and Smart Grids at Solarfields. “Our park can also use this technology to store excess energy during peak solar production times.”
As Europe continues its energy transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable future, companies like Alfen are at the forefront of developing innovative energy solutions. Alfen’s TheBattery Elements suite delivers a range of technologies to renewable power producers like Solarfields, as well as to local and larger-scale electricity grids. Alfen’s storage capabilities are being leveraged across European countries for optimal energy trading opportunities and grid stability, while empowering industrial operators with the ability to manage their own carbon-free power usage in an efficient manner.
Benefits and Implementation
During the battery installation process, Alfen closely coordinated with Solarfields to follow the unusual requirements associated with construction projects on landfill-designated property. In parallel, the team installed a medium voltage station that connects the battery to the electricity grid, which enables the transmission of the park’s stored power. Alfen installed both the battery and voltage system within a month. Additionally, Zonnepark features the first Dutch-manufactured battery storage system to store and deliver power in a solar park of its size on a single grid connection.
“A key consideration in choosing Alfen for this project was its proven track record of completed battery projects in the Netherlands, and compliance with local rules and regulations”, Schaap added. “Realising this project required interfaces between many different contractors, and it was really valuable being able to rely on Alfen’s engineering and project management expertise to bring this project together.”