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On 14 May 2020, Sunvest won the tender from the Municipality of Maastricht for the construction of a solar park on the Lanakerveld of approximately 41 hectares.
The land is owned by the Municipality of Maastricht and will be given on a long term lease after the environmental permit becomes irrevocable. The project area is surrounded by a Belgian industrial estate, agricultural areas and a railway line. To the north-west of where the solar park is planned, excavation work will be carried out in the municipality of Lanaken, after which an industrial area will be developed on the reduced terrain.
Since 2003, the site of the proposed solar park has been zoned ‘Business Area to be developed’. The regulations state that businesses up to and including category 4(A) are allowed. The solar park can be seen as an electricity production company and therefore fits within the zoning. The project area covers 41 hectares of which a maximum of 32 hectares will be covered.
After the invitation to tender, Sunvest entered into discussions with various parties and with local residents to improve the design. An impression of the modified plan is shown in the images below.
Local residents have indicated that it is desirable to do something about the distracting view of the Belgian industry. That is why the Municipality of Maastricht, the Municipality of Lanaken and Sunvest are working closely together to develop a broad green zone with trees on the Dutch side of the national border which will provide visual screening of the Belgian industry. The design also includes various ecological measures to mitigate the impact on the habitat of protected animal species in the area.
Sunvest has submitted the permit application to the municipality of Maastricht and is awaiting a decision from the council. If the decision is positive we expect to participate in the SDE subsidy application during the autumn of 2021.
Sunvest believes that local residents and the environment always have an important say in the development of a natural solar park. In our experience this leads to a better solar park where the local area actually benefits and can participate in the energy transition.
Sunvest held several meetings with people living in the immediate vicinity of the future solar park to collect their feedback on how best to fit the solar park into the environment.
In addition, Sunvest organised several information evenings and interactive information sessions for local residents and interested parties from the area.