Groningen – The Netherlands —
Since its inception in the 80s, the group Centraal Wonen de Heerd had in its principles the concern with the use of renewable energy. But only now the possibility that its energy comes from clean and local source is coming to fruition. The medium-term goal is to make its buildings energy-neutral or energetically efficient. This means that in the next 30 years the building shall achieve a large reduction in energy consumption through better insulation, more economical appliances and conscious use combined with the use of renewable energy by at least 30% of its demand. For the group, to be able to produce its own electricity locally has become an important first step.
The planning started in 2012, first by Grunneger Power. At that moment, an energy advice cooperative, conceived by a small group with a basic mission, to encourage the residents of Groningen to become local producers of energy and still improve the social interaction with neighbors embracing local projects in their area. Today Grunneger Power is also an energy company selling green energy (Electricity and Gas) trough whole Netherlands.
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Back then, for financial viability issues in relation to the local council stimulus, the plans were interrupted.
Later, in 2014, regarding a major reform already provided, the group of residents decided to resume the process, now with the creation of an internal energy committee. After brief analysis this committee decided to take control of the whole process from design to execution.
The proposal was presented to the group which approved it unanimously.
Dividing in stages, the group could already perform the first phase focusing on a common use building of the complex, called Centraal Ruimte (Central Room). 24 photovoltaic panels were installed on the flat roof, more than sufficient for this room consumption. The idea is that the surplus can be used to feed infrared heating boards running on electricity. Naturally, the remaining electricity produced by the panels is finally sold to the power grid. The next step is the installation of solar collectors, further reducing the need for natural gas.
The inverter (device that converts and optimizes the energy collected by the photovoltaic panel) installed can connect to the Internet by sending data, updated in real time. The performance of the 24 panels system can be followed here.