Utrecht University signs for a large solar park in Bunnik

In one step from about 3% to about 20% of UU's current electricity demand

Utrecht University (UU) wants to be CO2 neutral by 2030. Making the university more sustainable is partly possible with solar energy. Most buildings are therefore fitted with solar panels. To make big steps, larger park arrangements of solar panels are also needed. These do not physically fit in the Utrecht Science Park (USP). Therefore, UU signed an agreement with solar park developer IX Zon concerning the rights to build 50% of a large solar park in Bunnik and operate it for 30 years.

Solutions off campus

UU's energy supply accounts for 65% of the university's total CO2 footprint. Making sustainability feasible is partly possible with solar energy: many solar panels have already been installed on roofs and carports, for example. The university is serious about reducing our CO2 emissions, said Margot van der Starre, vice president of the Executive Board. We are doing everything we can to achieve that and that includes looking for solutions off campus. The solar park in Bunnik is one such solution. An opportunity we are therefore seizing with both hands.

Direct connection to USP's network

Solar park developer IX Zon is offering a ready-to-build solar park over two kilometres from the USP after four years of development. This solar park can be connected to the USP's electricity network via a direct connection. This will add a financially interesting solar energy production facility to UU's renewable energy production, comparable to a solar park developed on its premises. This increases the share of self-generated solar energy in one step from about 3% to about 20% of UU's current electricity demand.

This increases the share of self-generated solar energy in one step from about 3% to about 20% of UU's current electricity demand.

It has been calculated that the UU portion of the solar park will generate about 8 million kilowatt hours per year. This means that we also become significantly less dependent on our thermal power plant to generate electricity. And therefore need less gas, Van der Starre informs.

Tamara Luiken, a student member of the Finance, Housing, ICT and Sustainability (FHID) committee of the University council, has recently been working hard for the solar park together with colleagues: We are extremely happy with this development. Within UU's sustainable ambitions, this solar park is a great step forward.

Integration in the landscape (version 1.4, see ZonneparkA12Bunnik.nl)


The exploitation will involve cooperation with the Energie Coƶperatie Bunnik (ECB). Utrecht University itself will install solar panels on the site. How many there will be depends on the size of the solar panel chosen.

About Solar park A12-Bunnik

If everything goes according to plan, the solar park will start generating sustainable energy in early 2025. Over 16 GWh of sustainable energy can then be generated with the entire solar park ( of which UU will exploit half). That is enough to supply power to over 4,200 households. The initial plan for this project was discussed with the municipality in late 2020. After an extensive participation process in which the integration of the future solar park was discussed with residents, an environmental permit was applied for with the municipality in September 2021. This was eventually granted in September 2022. However, due to grid congestion in the Utrecht region, it was still unclear when capacity would be available on the electricity grid to connect the solar farm. At the end of November 2022, the good news came from Stedin that that capacity would now be available in the near future.