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1974 greenhouse modernised into green energy source

Protium recently completed construction of the solar-on-greenhouse project in Heinenoord,the Netherlands. This project modernized a 1974 greenhouse into a source of green energy. The new greenhouse deck consists of 10,804 430 Wp solar panels, which deliver a total peak capacity of 4.65 MW. On an annual basis this equals almost 4,000,000 kWh, equivalent to the total annual electricity consumption of the Dutch village of Heinenoord.

Two types of solar panels are used in the project. "We chose to realize part of the project with bifacial solar panels. These panels have a glass backing, as opposed to foil on a standard solar panel. This increases light transmission and offers more cultivatin options to the greenhouse owner," explains Matteo Santini, co-founder of Protium.

A local attraction
Gijs van Herk started growing strawberries at the Heinenoord site in 2002. Together with his wife Dianne, they combine the best of both worlds by growing products of the highest quality, and as environmentally friendly as possible. Besides strawberries, they now grow raspberries, cherries, plums, redcurrants and blackberries. All these products are sold at home in their farm shop. This local attraction is known for a wide range of fresh fruit from their own cultivation complemented by regional products. The shop is open from April to September.

Installing solar panels on an existing greenhouse is not always easy. Hylke Kuiken, project manager at Protium, comments: "During the investigation phase of the project, it turned out that the greenhouse's existing gutter was not strong enough to support the solar panels for a long period of time. To ensure the safety of the installation and the greenhouse structure, we reinforced the gutters of the 50-year-old greenhouse by installing a tube under the gutters."

Furthermore, recent poor weather conditions also created challenges during the construction of the project. "Unfortunately, the weather was not always cooperative, so not everything went according to the pre-established schedule. Despite the heavy rainfall, we managed to have the project fully operational before the summer. All 12 inverters are running, and we are very proud of the final result," says Hylke.

In cooperation with the site owner, the asbestos-containing roof of the shed was remediated and replaced with new sandwich panels, allowing an additional 300 solar panels to be added to the project.

An alternative for horticulturists
Due to stricter regulations, fluctuating energy prices or sustainability requirements, many horticulturists see little future perspective for their older greenhouses. A collaboration with Protium offers these entrepreneurs an alternative: using the greenhouse deck with solar panels.

For more information:
Tel: 0505535052
[email protected]

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