Tuesday 11 August 2020

Floating solar farm group targets 2,000 hectares of water

A floating solar farm on Texel. Photo: Zon op Water

A consortium of local and national government, and private sector companies is working on plans to develop massive floating solar farms in the Netherlands which they say could contribute ‘substantially’ to Dutch renewable energy targets by 2023.

The Floating Solar consortium has a target of establishing 2,000 hectares of floating solar farms by 2023 – involving a hundred thousand solar power panels.

This would make the Netherlands the leading European country for floating solar power, the consortium says. The Netherlands aims to derive 16% of energy usage from sustainable sources by 2023.

Nature organisations, however, are concerned about the plans, which they say will have a serious impact on fish and bird life. ‘If you cover the surface water so that no sunlight gets through, you will destroy the ecosystem,’ Kees de Pater of the bird protection group Vogelbescherming told Trouw.

However, Wiep Folkerts of research group TNO, which is also involved in the project, says the impact on nature will be looked at carefully. ‘Furthermore, the countryside is not high on the list of possible locations,’ he said.

The Netherlands already has a couple of floating solar farms, in Drenthe and on Texel. The advantage of a floating farm is that it can be turned to face the sun, boosting energy production by 30%.

Green groups say more should be done to utilise other options, such as the tops of buildings. In 2017, environmental organisation Natuur & Milieu calculated that is enough room on the roofs of Dutch homes for 145 million solar panels.

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