SolarAccess installs solar panels on company sites, explains its CEO Frans van Schoor. “In the past 15 years we have installed over 1.2 million solar panels on roofs or ground plots owned by other companies. One of our latest projects is a solar plant constructed on the roof of the Heineken brewery in the Dutch city of Den Bosch. We funded this project together with Triodos Renewables Europe Fund.”
The Heineken project comprises just over 16,000 solar panels, which generate enough power for 1,500 households. Van Schoor: “This power is not supplied to households, though. It goes directly to the brewery housed under the roof. This is efficient, as no power is lost during transport.”
SolarAccess has been working closely together with Triodos Renewables Europe Fund for over five years. The fund provides capital to and invests in clean energy projects. Van Schoor: “This partnership makes an important contribution towards creating a sustainable future. We help companies to achieve their sustainable ambitions.”
SolarAccess was established in 2004. The company installs solar panels on roofs or ground plots owned by other companies. SolarAccess has already installed over 1.2 million solar panels. The power is supplied directly to the companies that host the solar plants. Collectively, the panels installed by SolarAccess generate enough power for 100,000 households and would cover 350 soccer pitches. “In recent years we focused mainly on projects in the Netherlands", says CEO Frans van Schoor. “But in the years ahead we will become more active outside our own country.”
“Our partnership is aimed at convenience and acceleration", says Vincent van Haarlem, fund manager for Triodos Renewables Europe Fund. “All that the companies where SolarAccess installs solar panels actually need to do, is to make their roofs or a plot of land available. Upon completion, the project supplies clean energy that is used at the site itself.”
“Also, the company does not need to worry about servicing the panels", says Van Haarlem. “Because they are the property of SolarAccess and Triodos Renewables Europe Fund. The convenience that we offer companies, makes it attractive for them to have a solar plant installed. This approach helps to win companies over. This is how we accelerate the energy transition.”
More and more companies have substantial sustainable ambitions. Heineken is one of them. This brewer wants to obtain 70% of its power from sustainable sources by 2030.
“However, companies often struggle to realise those ambitions", says Van Schoor. “One of the reasons is their lack of know-how. Installing solar panels is not their core business. SolarAccess, on the other hand, is a specialist in this area. We are able to install solar panels quickly and efficiently.”
Funding is a challenge
"The lower cost price of solar panels in particular makes it difficult to finance individual projects at companies. As a result, only the largest roofs can be financed individually. The structural cooperation between Triodos Renewables Europe Fund and SolarAccess bridges this problem," says Van Haarlem.This allows more companies to generate energy on location, without the need to invest in it.
“And because we are a structural contributor to its projects, SolarAccess does not have to organise the full funding for each individual project. They can get a move on and quickly realise new projects.”
More generation capacity
Using a framework agreement such as that between Triodos Renewables Europe Fund and SolarAccess therefore offers considerable benefits. “But it is also important to have sufficient scope for tailored solutions", comments Van Haarlem. “Every project is different. And every company that makes its roof available has its own objectives. We respond to that as best as we can, with the ultimate goal of jointly increasing the generation capacity for renewable energy.”
Sustainable Development Goals
The solar project that was realised on the roof of the Heineken brewery in Den Bosch contributes to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the United Nations. It effectively contributes to the realisation of goals 7 and 12.
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This is a translation of an article published by Triodos Bank. Text by Tobias Reijngoud.