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UG installs huge solar panel field on Zernike Campus to generate more renewable energy

13 July 2017

This month the University of Groningen (UG) will install a huge field of 1,700 solar panels in the north of Zernike Campus Groningen. The renewable energy thus generated will be used to supply nearby research equipment. The field is located between the KVI Center for Advanced Radiation Technology (Cart) and EnTranCe. It is expected to generate around 5,400 MWh, which is roughly equivalent to the energy consumed by 120 households per year. The panels start operating in September 2017.

Energy for particle accelerator

The energy generated will be supplied directly to research equipment for KVI-Cart, including huge machines such as laser installations and the AGOR particle accelerator, used to accelerate atomic nuclei to speeds approaching half the speed of light. Generally speaking, research equipment of this type uses a lot of energy, much of which will now be renewable.

Sustainable university

The University of Groningen is working hard to raise its level of sustainability, with regard to both teaching & research, and business operations, renovation and new building projects. The UG is currently 15th in the Greenmetric Ranking of World Universities.

Panels installed by companies from Groningen

After a tendering procedure, the contract for installing the solar panels was awarded to ITBB from Groningen. This company works with ENIE, another Groningen-based firm. The Buildings and and Grounds Management department of the University Services Department, assisted by Deerns consultancy company, prepared the project. The solar panels themselves were partly funded with an SDE+ government grant.

The UG expects to recoup its investment within 10 years. The field can be expanded in the future if required.
Solar panels at Zernike
Solar panels at Zernike
Last modified:13 March 2020 12.39 a.m.
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