World's "biggest solar housing scheme" opens

10,000 solar panels power 69 houses, sports centre, two schools, weirs in Netherlands

An energy efficient housing development opened this week by Dutch economics minister, Annemarie Jorritsma, is the biggest development of its kind in Europe, according to the Dutch energy distribution company Remu. Shell Solar, the renewables arm of Shell International has supplied a total of 10,000 solar panels for the scheme in the area of Amersfoort, which comprises 69 houses, two primary schools, a sports centre and a number of weirs controlling water levels. A spokesperson for Shell International told ENDS Daily that between 27 and 33 panels on the roof of each house would provide a saving of nearly one quarter on electricity and hot water needs. In the Netherlands, electricity meters can run in both direction allowing any surplus electricity to be exported back to the grid. The houses are particularly energy efficient with optimal insulation and a heat recovery ventilation system. Head of Shell Solar, Willem-Jan van Wijk, described the scheme as "the most exciting development in the application of solar power in residential properties in northern Europe". "It is a visible demonstration," he continued "of how solar power can be used to meet energy needs across a wide range of buildings."

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