Hitachi Data Systems (NYSE: HIT) has opened its new ‘energy neutral’ European distribution centre in the Netherlands, and management says the solar-powered facility was built with the need to meet tougher future energy regulations in mind.

The centre, powered by a 1.4 MW solar array, is the largest unsubsidised solar project on a single building in Europe and Frans van Rijn, executive vice president of global supply chain at Hitachi Data Systems, told Business Green that the future environmental regulatory landscape has motivated the company.

Hitachi Netherlands
“We thought; let’s look at the long term. We knew we wanted to build something that lasts for 15 to 20 years and would meet current regulations and requirements as well as future regulations and requirements. We can’t predict exactly what they are going to be, but we can predict they are going to be stricter.”

The array features 6,200 solar panels fitted over 17,000 square metres of roof space and the Zaltbommel facility also uses heat extracted from the ground water to heat and cool the building.

The company also has an agreement with Dutch energy company Eneco to deliver any surplus electricity to the grid and in return the distribution centre can use wind energy from installations in the North Sea when the sun is not shining.

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