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Construction of solar farm in the heart of the Dutch meadows
In north-western Netherlands, Ecorus is working hard on a new solar farm. Boels can count Ecorus among its customers for some time now. The reason Ecorus chose Boels as its partner was partly because both companies have such a similar philosophy on sustainability. Roy Senden, account manager for Boels, and Ricardo Geuke, project manager at Ecorus, talk about the project and the sustainable cooperation enormous ‘energy’.
It takes a while to find the 4.5-kilometre-long solar farm that winds like a snake through the rural polder farmland. The first things you see aren’t the solar panels, but the many sheep and abundance of water birds, and then the units and storage containers that form a kind of mini-compound where the Ecorus team operates.
Forty-four thousand seven hundred and twelve….
A one metre-long diagram of the solar farm that is under construction adorns the office unit wall of the Ecorus project team. “Big? Well, I’d prefer to describe it as long-stretched. We’ve worked on bigger projects, but I can imagine that the numbers appeal to people’s imagination.” Ricardo Geuke is referring in particular to the stretch of land 4.5 kilometres and 50 metres wide, where 44,712 panels will be placed, connected by 400 kilometres of cables.
A 25-strong team is working with military precision from north to south. Halfway down the solar field is the project’s nerve centre. Fully fenced off office units, storage containers and a toilet unit form the heart of the operation. Site carriers constantly drive back and forth to the various work sites. We take a ride with Ricardo to the northernmost point. The place where the first few hundred panels have already been installed. “These ‘buggies’ come in very handy. It’s bone dry now but a few weeks ago we were driving through deep mud.”
“The site carriers’ four-wheel drive pulled us and our gear through everything.”
Ricardo Geuke – Project Manager at Ecorus
Ricardo was almost sitting on a quad right now. It’s Roy Senden’s doing that there are site carriers on the site. “This is where the aspect of safety and convenience come into play. I’ve managed several similar projects in recent years. You learn from each project, and then you apply the knowledge you’ve gained to the next project”, Roy Senden explains. “I’m thankful to Roy in hindsight”, Ricardo adds.
Short Range Security System
The 10 Short Range cameras from Site Security are an essential part of this job. Ecorus planned the construction of the solar park as a meticulous operation. Materials need to be brought to the right place quickly. This means that the equipment, including 40% of the total solar panels for this project, are already stored at different points along the construction site. All this combined is worth a small fortune, which is why a reliable surveillance system is an absolute must. The cameras are linked to a control room that reports directly to the site manager outside working hours. This is an excellent, efficient and sustainable security procedure, and Ecorus wholeheartedly agrees. Because of this and other experiences, our colleagues at Site Security will be expanding the fleet of the Short Range cameras by another 500 in the coming months.
“When installing solar panels is your core business, it’s not surprising that you value the basic principle of sustainability and expect the same from your partners.”
Roy Senden – Account Manager
Sustainability played an important role in the search for a rental partner. Last year, Roy Senden and colleague Ivan Capelle gave a presentation at Ecorus on the green ambitions of Boels. Under the heading ‘making the rental sector more sustainable’, he updated the people at Ecorus on the latest sustainability developments and the possibilities within Boels. This presentation helped secure this latest project. “It’s great to see what can be achieved in this field. Take the hybrid generator that powered the compound before it was connected to the mains, for example. Or the Short Range security cameras that run entirely on batteries.”
Metre by metre, the park is progressing from north to south. The orange ‘buggies’ will continue driving up and down the site. If all goes well, the solar farm will be completed by the end of October and the meadow will have 89,424 square metres of solar panels and 20 megawatts of solar power. And with that, the ‘orange’ will have made way for green, grazing sheep and the twitter of birds, as if nothing has changed.