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Solar panels and sedum on the roof of Snellius: A first for Leiden University

One of the largest roofs at Leiden University, that of the Snellius building, has recently been equipped with 590 solar panels and 57,000 sedum plants, making it the largest combined roof in the Benelux. The roof was officially opened on Monday 10 October by Annetje Ottow and Martijn Ridderbos, President and Vice Chairman of the Executive Board, and Fleur Spijker, an alderman from the Municipality of Leiden.

The roof is not the first roof at Leiden University to have solar panels. ‘We have now fitted nine buildings with solar panels, which means we will soon pass the 5,000 mark and are making considerable strides towards energy transition,’ Martijn Ridderbos explained. Each year, the 590 solar panels will generate an amount of energy equivalent to that consumed by 80 households.

Biodiversity has also been considered on the Snellius roof. Fifty-seven thousand plants with 14 different varieties of sedum will attract lots of different species of insect, and consequently birds and other plants too. The plants will be fully grown in two years’ time and the roof will then act as a living lab: the University will research how the biodiversity of flora and fauna increases. Ottow: ‘I think it’s fantastic that this 2,800 square metre roof will be an oasis for everything living in this area and will thus help make this a more pleasant place to live for humans and animals alike.’

The opening of the roof coincided with Sustainability Day. Alderman Fleur Spijker said she was pleased with the roof and emphasised the urgency of sustainability: ‘The roof is a wonderful example of a sustainable initiative. Let’s hope it gets a lot of attention in the city.’

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