Rotterdam’s Mayor Ivo Opstelten has formally started up the largest rooftop solar energy system installed in a built up area in the Netherlands. This Sunport generator, installed on the roof of the Oceanium in Rotterdam’s Blijdorp Zoo, delivers enough sustainable electricity to meet more than 100 households’ day-to-day requirements.Rotterdam, Netherlands – January 20, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The project has cost almost Euro 3.9 million (US$ 4.8 million) in total, covering construction and maintenance of the system and an accompanying educational program. Sunport is an ENECO Energie initiative that has been arranged in partnership with the Municipality of Rotterdam, Blijdorp Zoo and Siemens Nederland. On the Oceanium’s 5,000 square meter roof, more than 3,000 black/grey Shell Solar panels have been installed, with a total power output of 500 kW MW. This solar energy array will generate electricity at a rate of about 325,000 kWh per year. Blijdorp Zoo will use the electricity in the Oceanium itself, citing the high energy needs for cooling and refridge to keep the penguins’ enclosure cool. This solar energy system is now a distinctive feature of Blijdorp Zoo and is strikingly visible from the main road leading to Rotterdam’s city center from the motorway ring. Blijdorp is also very satisfied with this project because it puts the operation of the Zoo on a more sustainable basis. Siemens Nederland supplied Sunport Blijdorp as a turnkey system, takes care of its maintenance. Service life and output is guaranteed for a 20-year period. ENECO Energie, the Municipality of Rotterdam and Blijdorp Zoo are keen to make the general public more aware of this sustainable method of power generation, and so an educational programme on solar energy has now been set up in the Zoo. Of the total cost of the project, Euro 3,885,000 (US$ 4.8 million), ENECO bears 47 percent, while a 33 percent subsidy has been provided by Novem, the Netherlands Agency for Energy and the Environment. The Municipality of Rotterdam is contributing 12 percent, the Province of South Holland 6 percent and Blijdorp 2 percent towards the project costs.