Shell Helps Dutch Town Become World's First Solar City

Shell Helps Dutch Town Become World's First Solar City

Madurodam, in The Hague is full of movement and light. Windmills turn, tour boats ply the canals, trams and trains arrive, and more than 50,000 bulbs light up the evening sky; but Madurodam is anything but an energy-guzzling metropolis.

The town, which plays host to around a million visitors per year, is a place where all things Dutch, from the Rijksmuseum to a Shell service station, are replicated and built to the tiniest detail - in miniature.

As part of its fiftieth birthday celebrations, the diminutive ville decided to become self sufficient in its energy consumption, and thanks to a solar system supplied by Shell Solar, it has done just that. Spelling out the words "Solar City" in blue and yellow, a 300m2 bank of photovoltaic panels supplies the energy demands of the entire theme park, or about 100,000 kilowatts per annum.

One of the project's aims is for people to become more aware of the potential of solar energy. The Madurodam installation includes a smaller solar wall, made up of 40m2 of light-absorbing cells, where visitors can watch as the panels soak up the sun's rays and convert them into electricity to power seven of Madurodam's pint-sized townhouses. A gauge shows how much electricity is being created.

With plenty on a sunny day, and only slightly less even on the cloudiest Dutch afternoon, Shell Solar proves that this is a technology that's not just for toy towns.