Future solar panels not taken into account for AFAS stadium's roof: report

The roof of the AFAS stadium in Alkmaar partially collapsed during a storm, 10 August 2019
The roof of the AFAS stadium in Alkmaar partially collapsed during a storm, 10 August 2019Photo: AZ Alkmaar/Twitter

When the AFAS stadium in Alkmaar was built, the future installation of solar panels on its roof was not taken into account, Anna Lambrechts, commercial director of Sunprojects - the company that installed around 1,700 solar panels on the stadium's roof in 2015 - said in a video used as promotional material, AD reports.

The video was filmed four years ago. It was taken offline after the roof of the AZ stadium partially collapsed in a storm on Saturday.

In the video, Lambrechts talks about a number of challenges the company faced when installing the solar panels on the stadium's roof. One of the challenges stemmed from the construction of the stadium, during which the installation of solar panels was not taken into account, she said. "But together with our suppliers we have devised a solution for this and the panels were still placed on the roof", Lambrechts said, according to the newspaper.

In a written statement to AD on Tuesday, Sunprojects said that Lambrechts' statements can cause confusion. "The comments in the promotional film are about the mounting system that was used for the solar panels and do not relate to the architectural aspects of the stadium roof. Due to the lack of clarity of the term used and various recent questions about the specific explanation of the 2015 comment above, the promotional video has been temporarily removed from the Sunprojects website", the company said.

Sunprojects would not provide any further information, according to the newspaper. "We will not do that as long as investigations are ongoing." In a previous post on the company's website following the roof collapse, Sunprojects said that it installed the solar panels in 2015 after an extensive process of preparation and research by the parties involved. 

Football club AZ previously said that a building permit was granted for solar panels on the stadium's roof, and that the permit included a re-evaluation of the construction. But spokesperson Chris de Wild of the municipality of Alkmaar now told AD that this was not the case. "No, that simply wasn't necessary. According to the Building Decree, solar panels can be installed without an adapted building permit or inspection. Calculations by the constructor showed that the roof could support the panels. We were kept well informed of the plans and calculations at the time, that was sufficient for the municipality", he said.

The Dutch Safety Board launched an exploratory investigation into the collapse of the AFAS stadium roof. AZ also asked an independent firm to investigate.

A spokesperson for the football team told AD that the engineer that built the stadium, Romkes BV, did extensive calculations to determine whether the roof could bear the weight of the solar panels. "It turned out to be possible." He would not comment on the Lambrechts' statements or why AZ previously said they had a building permit for the solar panels. "We're focusing on football and await the results of the investigations." 

No one was available to comment at Romkes BV, according to the newspaper.


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