Wavin is an innovative solution provider for the building and infrastructure industry across multiple continents. Founded in 1955, the company is European market leader in plastic pipes, mainly for drainage and water supply purposes, and employs 11.500 people in over 40 countries worldwide. Wavin is a front-runner in sustainable water management solutions. The company focuses on creating positive change in the world. Their passion is building livable and loveable environments where people can live healthy, happy lives – today and tomorrow. Wavin engages and collaborates with city leaders, engineers, planners and installers to help make cities future-proof and buildings comfortable and energy-efficient. Sustainability is important to Wavin and creating renewable energy by using solar panels is perfectly in line with that vision.
Wavin is located at 15 locations in The Netherlands, including their headquarters in Hardenberg. Since the fall of 2018 SolarAcces has installed over 4.000 solar panels at this location, with an expected power output of 1200 mwh per year. Instead of the usual 1,6 m², part of these panels are 2m² in size, requiring less installation materials and labour. The project is still running, this spring an extra number of solar panels is to be installed. Time to get to know a bit more about this exciting project!
Solarpanels, residual heat, windmills
René Cazemier (Location Management Wavin): “Corporate sustainability is important to us. We explore and invest in various ways to save energy and generate green energy. For a company it is quite easy to manage solar panels, especially if you use the services of a company that takes over a lot of the work. Creating windmills for example, is a good deal more complex.”
To produce plastic products in the factories in Hardenberg, raw materials need to be heated and then cooled down. A proces that requires a lot of power. The new solar panels provide part of the necessary power. But because this part is relatively small, Wavin also engages in other changes. René: “We linked the cooling water system of the various factories. The surplus heat is being stored underground and repurposed for heating. At the moment it is used to heat the swimming pool and sports hall in Hardenberg. Furthermore, we plan to use the surplus heat to create district heating and possibly heat the city’s hospital that is being built.”
From 2.500 to 4.000 and beyond
Bas Douma: “Our first contact with Wavin was in 2018. We did a technical roof scan and stability research and fortunately the roofs proved to be very appropriate for placing solar panels. We started building in the fall of 2018. The fact that different business units in various buildings participate, makes this a special project. Where is the power coming from and who is using it? It is a puzzle that needs to be solved in advance.”
After a successful completion of the first 2.500 panels, Wavin’s enthusiasm has grown even more and the project has been extended. Since then a little over 4.000 solar panels have been installed. Currently part of the roof covering is replaced, to create space to install an extra number of panels.
Nothing to worry about
René: “Of course there are several organizations that offer solar panels. We prefer working with a company that has proven to be capable of handling large projects successfully. In addition, the SolarAccess employees are friendly and supporting. They offered us an attractive financial scheme and arranged the funding applications. SolarAccess took care of the whole process and organized it all, so that we could focus on our core business.”
Only visible from the air?
The ‘annoying’ thing about solar panels is that in the Netherlands they are mostly placed on rooftops. Horizontal and only visible from the sky. Whereas to Wavin, it’s important to inspire and show people their focus on sustainable energy. That’s why during this project a ‘façade’, a vertical wall made of solar panels, was installed. A beautiful field of 108 solar panels is now visible for everyone. René: “We are very pleased with the façade because it really visualizes what we are doing. In addition we installed screens that show the daily output of the solar panels within our premises. The funny thing is that in winter, when the sun is low, the rooftop panels have a lower output whilst the panels of the façade are doing really well.”
Rene: “Safety is a very important theme for Wavin. Fortunately, SolarAcces personell is very experienced and we didn’t have to explain much to them. We even worked together in developing protocols, like a protocol that determines what criteria Wavin companies must meet in order to install solar panels. Right at this moment we are exploring options for solar panels at different locations. The safety protocol that we developed in cooperation with SolarAcces is being used in various projects.”
The next step
Both René and Bas are satisfied with how smooth the project has been executed. At SolarAcces, we are very happy with that. We are proud of this inspiring customer that invests in a sustainable future. René: “In the end we all have to do the right thing and make good choices for the environment. I’m proud that Wavin in Hardenberg has taken a next step in the right direction.”