Thialf skating stadium on thin ice with solar panel fire risk

The newly renovated Thialf ice stadium in 2016. Photo:

The Thialf ice skating stadium in Heerenveen has been forced to abandon the use of solar panels because of insurance issues.

The stadium is already in financial difficulty mainly due to high energy bills. But now its insurance company has said the risk of fire posed by the panels, in combination with the insulation material used in the roof, is too great and they should be switched off.

‘We cannot have an uninsured stadium,’ stadium officials said in a letter to shareholders, and quoted by NOS.

Thialf officials will now start talks with the unamed insurer in an effort to avoid having to remove the panels altogether.

Turning off the panels, which were partly financed by the provincial authorities, will cost €200,000 to €300,000 a year and will come on top of a budget deficit of some €700,000.

The Thialf ice stadium started life as a natural ice track in 1855 and has been used for international competitions since 1890. I

n 1967 the covered 400 metre track was was officially opened and since then has been the place where such world skating greats as Ard Schenk, Johan Olav Koss, Ireen Wüst and Sven Kramer have had their biggest successes.

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