“Sustainability is in their genes”

The King’s Commissioner from Gelderland Clemens Cornielje came to see wood processor Plospan’s solar panel project in Waardenburg on Wednesday, 25 August. He hopes that other companies follow the example of Plospan. “This project does not take up a single square metre.”


WAARDENBURG – “Wow! Beautiful!”, Clemens Cornielje exclaimed when he first saw the sea of solar panels on Plospan’s roofs. The Dutch King’s Commissioner had just climbed the ten-metre high stairs to the viewpoint over the industrial buildings. It was a perfect summer’s day for a working visit to the solar panel project in Waardenburg. The bright sunlight reflected from more than nine thousand solar panels glittered in the eyes of the King’s Commissioner from Gelderland like a blight blue mirror.

During the first tour of Plospan’s site together with the mayor of Neerijnen, Harry de Vries, the King’s Commissioner was clearly already impressed. This was due to the amount of power produced by the solar panels, Plospan’s cogeneration plants and the business process itself. Plospan processes 3000 tonnes of wood per week and the King’s Commissioner was able to see this in action: from the tree trunks that are rolled through the planer to the automatic packaging of wood shavings and biofuel pellets.

Cornielje bombarded the Plomp brothers, who run Plospan, with questions about the history of the family-run business, about the companies that had helped to install the solar panel project and about the export of wood products to China. “If not, all those containers would return to China empty. Now they are filled with wood shavings”, Rober Plomp explained.

The King’s Commissioner stated that he had solar panels on his own home and was particularly interested in the delivery of green energy to Liander’s power grid. “So you are actually a power supplier.”

At the end of his visit, the King’s Commissioner said that he was especially impressed by the fact that Plospan’s solar panel project used 2.5 hectares of existing roofs. “This project does not take up a single square metre. The roofs were there already. You see a lot of large solar panel projects with new construction, but there is not much new construction. There are still a lot of roofs in the Netherlands. This should be imitated everywhere.”

He admits that this would take a lot of courage on the part of entrepreneurs. “But if one sheep leaps over the ditch, the rest will follow.” Cornielje hopes that other companies will come to look at Plospan and learn from it. “They won’t have to figure everything out themselves. There are so many aspects with such a project. Plospan has thought of everything here. It is also very impressive how these four brothers reflect on sustainable business practices, how much they know and how it keeps them busy every day. Sustainability is clearly in their genes. With a family-run business, I can say that.”