For the first time in the Netherlands, homes are heated collectively with locally-generated solar energy. Nuon built Almere Sun Island and connected it to its district heating network.
Since May 2010 Almere Sun Island has supplied heating and hot tap water to the new Almere residential district Noorderplassen-West. The solar island is in keeping with the urban planning for the residential area and is an icon in the Almere landscape. The 520 solar collectors have a surface area of 7,000 m2, about one and a half football fields. It is one of the largest solar collector fields in the world.
The project by Dutch energy company Nuon is part of its long range plans to make its energy supply innovative and sustainable. The solar island supplies 9.750 Gigajoules of sustainable energy annually. That is 10% of the annual heating needs of the 2,700 houses in the district, or the energy used by taking a million showers a year. Nuon provides the remaining heat using environmentally friendly residual heat from their nearby bio-fed power plant in Almere.
In addition the solar collectors and district heating together reduce CO2 emissions by more than 50% compared to gas-fired heating. That is equivalent to driving 30 million fewer kilometres a year.