starting up our own green power production unit: 4 solar panels, March 2000
PV "van boven"

Zonnepanelen uit de ruimte - Solar panels on Earth out of space

© all photographs Google Earth except where indicated


Lombok, Utrecht (Netherlands)

© TDN Emmen 1989, 31 Oost "Utrecht"

Project data
Map of Utrecht

Jan Pieterszoon Coenstraat overview
J.P. Coenstraat centre
J.P. Coenstraat centre south
J.P. Coenstraat south
Houseboats Merwedekanaal

Although the governmental market support for photovoltaics in the Netherlands has dropped to a vehemently criticized "all-time-low", while the rest of Europe is advancing fast with progressive support for all "solar" based sustainable technologies, we still encounter lots of small private PV-projects scattered among the country. They could be considered as "relics" of a golden mini-age in which the Netherlands temporarily took the lead with the incorporation of solar-PV in the urban environment through active market support regimes (see, e.g., the superb "Nieuwland" project in Amersfoort on a separate page). That lead was enhanced by thousands of civilians that took up the "Kyoto challenge" and that, supported by a very attractive (but in the end uncontrollable and badly-designed) financial incentive subsidy scheme for buying solar panels, started their own "mini-PV plants". Lots of people, some estimates mentioning 30.000 households, have bought small systems of 4 to 6, sometimes more (and in some areas up to systems of 30) PV-modules and have started their private "solar age" on their own (or rented) house or appartment.

Lombok, an old district lying west of the centre of Utrecht, has always had a rather social climate and people there have done a community effort to get as much solar panels per house as possible for those interested to participate in the joint effort. Because the people in this area generally belong to households with not too much to spend, the average system size is approximately 4-6 modules, although one can find also slightly bigger systems.

This webpage shows a few examples of the result of the cooperative efforts of this old neighbourhood in Utrecht. An example to be followed everywhere in the world, with financial backing of local and, in particular, national governments that are looking for ways to reduce greenhouse emissions, to create a sustainable market for solar energy based companies, and to bring the people in society in contact with one of the most fascinating and dark green energy technologies presently available on this planet. It should be noted that feed-in regimes with good prices for all kWh fed into the net has appeared to be the superior way to take the market off, such has been shown in Germany and the countries that follow its superb and well-designed Erneurbare Energien Gesetz law.

People with solar panels on their roof do not get rich from solar power, but a financial incentive is the difference between doing nothing at all and whining about the exploding costs of the yearly energy bill on the one hand, and highly motivated civilians producing part of their own electricity consumption on the other. By bringing civilians into contact with photovoltaic technology, it has been shown, people start to become very critical of their own energy consumption as well. A net-coupled Ferraris meter spinning backwards is one of the biggest incentives to reduce wasteful electricity consumption habits in the household! Hence, besides the financial benefits, because of the adjusted "energy behaviour" of people generating part of their own green electricity, greenhouse emissions are reduced even further, accumulating positive effects. It is also a very big incentive for people to become involved in the highly needed support for the energy transition that starts to take off in the Western world, and, hopefully, all around the globe as well. It will be the better for all mankind, and everyone can start with a small system, even if it starts with one module only. If one "gets the taste", one is inclined to buy more of these shiny blue (or black) modules. Good for the economy, good for increase in quality labour in the solar industry, good for reducing greenhouse effects, good for reducing extremely problematic NOx emissions from power plants in populated countries, good for civic morale... Need I say more?

Project data

(taken from:

Project duration: Februari 1, 2001 until December 31, 2001
Approximately 250 PV-modules on dwellings of house owners and tenants.
Modules: Shell Solar 95 Wp (ACN2000E; datasheet: 93 Wp) and some "lucky ones" 104 Wp (RSM105).
Type of system: Sunpower® mounted on plastic "Ecofys-consoles" (now from Ubbink) or integrated in slanted roofs.

In the pictures, south is always at the bottom of the photographs (unless otherwise indicated).
At the time that these photographs were taken, sun location was in the SE (watch shadows).

Location of Lombok in Utrecht
© TDN Emmen 1989, 31 Oost "Utrecht"

Eastern part of Tasmanstraat. Two PV-systems on flat roofs, both consisting of 12 modules, and having a slightly different orientation with respect to S. These kind of flat-roof systems mostly are placed on so-called "consoles", plastic supports on which the modules can be fixed, and that are filled with stone tiles, pebbles, etc., to make the system storm-proof (hence: the consoles are not fixed to the roof and they can easily be removed if the owner moves to another house). In other flat-roof systems open frame supports have been applied, using triangular aluminium profiles (see, e.g., system of webmaster of Polder PV).

Bankastraat, showing 4 different PV-systems, all on flat roofs. Anti-clockwise from top left: 12 modules in 3 rows, 4 modules in a single row (bottom), 8 modules in two rows (lower right) and, finally, 14 modules on flat roof section surrounding a small superstructure and a daylight-window (top right). Note shading of one of the modules of the latter system by the superstructure, and the single modules placed on the eastern rim of this roof section, well placed apart to prevent the most southerly module from shading its northern neighbour in winter (sun positioned low in the sky). Hence: 4 most probably happy households producing a very sustainable part of their own electricity consumption.

11 sustainable households (red arrows) in two facing blocks of houses in the Jan Pieterszoon Coenstraat (northern part)! All flat roof systems, part on separate top floor superstructures. For two detail photographs, see below.

Detail 1 of J.P. Coenstraat, northern part of previous photograph. From top left, counterclockwise: 4 modules placed separately in alternating "rows", 4 modules in 2 rows, 8 modules in 4 rows each with 2 modules (bottom left), 4 modules in 2 rows on, presumably, asphalt paper roof (bottom right), 4 modules in 3 rows on small superstructure with dark gray cover, system with 4 modules including one appartently oriented in SW direction (experiment or accident??), and, finally, in upper right corner, system with 8 modules in 3 rows.

Detail 2 of J.P. Coenstraat, southern part of overview photograph. Houses at left: 4 modules in 2 rows in centre left, most probably a double solar thermal collector on adjacent house (note large shadow), and 10 modules in 2 rows at bottom. Note probable cabling in protective tubes directly in front of the front row. Houses at right: 4 loose PV modules on roof superstructure at top, and 4 modules in 2 rows in upper right-hand corner of adjacent house.

Detail 3 of J.P. Coenstraat, southern part of this PV-filled street. Very interesting arrays. Top to bottom: 8 rather loosely placed modules apparently consisting of 2 different types; system of 4 modules in single row, house with a dormer (Dutch: "dakkapel") at left with 4 modules cramped on the flat roof. And, finally, the most interesting of all, a single house with at the left side a dormer with 4 S. facing modules as on the neighbouring house, 6 modules on the slanted roof facing W., and on the east-facing part of the slanted roof half again a big dormer with 8 S. facing modules in 4 rows. Totalling 18 modules for this single house, that shares its (slanted) roof with the neighbouring house with 4 modules. Photograph of this system has also been published in Bode (O.D.E.)/november 2006.

Leidsekade on S. rim of Lombok district, revealing a system with 4 modules placed in a square on the SSE facing slanted roof of a big building (app. 3 houses under one roof), bottom right, and two modules on slanted roof on top, shaded by a tree.

Houseboats Leidsekade/Billitonkade on N. bank Merwedekanaal (3 out of 4 boats). How Dutch can you get? Living "on the water", a small terrace for a good sunny breakfast, and, off-course, with an array of solar panels on the flat roof of your houseboat. BINGO! 2x 16 solar panels on two neighbouring houseboats in big picture, and 12 modules on smaller houseboat (lying east of previous two), in inset. See also overview on separate page.

Reaalstraat near Leidsekade, showing off a PV-system with 10 modules in 4 separate rows on flat roof. Such a system could, in theory, if consisting of 100 Wp modules, produce under average conditions in the Netherlands app. 800 kWh/year of superclean, emission- and noise-free electricity and offset the electricity bill of an average household (consuming app. 3.500 kWh/year) with almost a quarter. Note also the 4-module system on a slanted roof in the lower left corner.


Website of the community center of Lombok (Dutch):

Solar energy in Lombok (Dutch):

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© 2006 Peter J. Segaar/Polder PV subsite, Leiden (NL)
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