The Netherlands, HAL location ‘City of the Sun’

Marcel Elswijk, Henk Kaan and Lucas Bleijendaal


An ambitious project is under way to install a total of 5MWp of PV in new urban districts currently being built in the location Heerhugowaard, Alkmaar and Langedijk region ofThe Netherlands, the so-called HAL location, approximately 40km north of Amsterdam.

The City of the Sun (Stad van de Zon), where 3.6MWp of PV are being installed, is one part of this HAL location that, after completion, will have 5MWp ofPV It is a new town ofabout 2500 dwellings in the municipality ofHeerhugowaard. This is one of the largest urban-scale PV projects in the world. It is inspirational but is also proving very challenging to complete. Projects on such a large scale take such a long time to be implemented; they can be unwieldy to steer and vulnerable to changes in government policy. Despite changes in government policy and the loss of expected funding the project continues. The continuation of the project is partly down to the involvement of all stakeholders in the HAL consultative body: municipalities, province, energy supplier, the Energy Research Centre of The Netherlands and consultants.


The dense population of The Netherlands means that the design and construction of complete new urban districts is a standard part of urban development. The design of new urban areas allows for careful spatial planning. This spatial planning is a complicated process that is initiated by the national government. The government assigns areas for future urban development in White Papers. The provinces, in this case the province of North Holland, have a role in coordination and further development of assigned urban areas.

The area between the North Holland municipalities of Heerhugowaard, Alkmaar and Langedijk, abbreviated HAL lokatie (HAL location), was identified in one of the White Papers as a future urban development for housing.

Both the province and the three municipalities involved in the HAL location have high ambitions with regard to quality of building, quality of living, and above all energy and CO2 reductions.

Подпись: Heerhugowaard, City of the Sun Source: © Gemeente Heerhugowaard, Harry Donker

When the development of the HAL location started early in the 1990s, the application of PV was strongly supported by a national research programme on solar energy, financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and coordinated by the national energy agency Novem. With strong support for PV available, a low energy housing area with a focus on PV, combined with low energy demand, passive solar energy and solar thermal energy, was an obvious choice. In addition, the project developer involved, who owned a large part of the HAL location area, also had similar ambitions as far as quality, energy and reduction of CO2 were concerned.

The PV installations are split between the three municipalities involved with 0.4MWp in Langedijk (largely completed in 2004), 1MWp in Alkmaar (completed in 2003) and 3.6MWp
in Heerhugowaard City of the Sun (completed in 2009).

Updated: September 30, 2015 — 10:25 pm