Sun on Water

Floating solar parks are high on the agenda in the Netherlands. However, little is known about its ecological effects. A unique study by HZ University of Applied Sciences on the Oostvoornse Meer should provide answers in the coming year.

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This summer, the Building with Nature research group of the HZ University of Applied Sciences will conduct research into the ecological impact and social experience of floating solar energy systems on the Oostvoornse lake. The research is part of the Sun on Water pilot project and will contribute to the development of knowledge required to enable the generation of solar energy on Dutch inland waterways in the future.

The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is of great importance in order to meet future climate and energy targets. However, in the densely populated Netherlands there is little suitable land available to develop large-scale wind and solar parks. In order to cope with space constraints, alternative locations for sustainable energy applications, such as inland waterways, are increasingly being sought. The Netherlands is a water country, so the potential for floating solar platforms is great. Nevertheless, little is known about the effects on water quality and the social acceptability of solar energy generation on inland waterways.

The Building with Nature research group of the HZ University of Applied Sciences will therefore conduct research to better visualize these effects. In the summer months, three floating solar platforms will be installed on the Oostvoornse lake. The researchers will then closely monitor the water quality over a period of a year to identify any changes in the aquatic ecosystem. In the same period, interviews and surveys will be conducted with stakeholders and users of the lake to explore the social perception of floating solar platforms on the Oostvoornse lake. The results of the research will provide insight into the ecological and social feasibility of floating solar energy systems to contribute to the achievement of national energy and climate objectives.

The research takes place in the context of the Solar on Water pilot project and is being carried out in collaboration with TNO and Fieldlab Green Economy Class Westvoorne. The Zon op Water project is made possible in part by the Rabobank stimulation fund and the financial support and active participation of the partners in the project: TNO, Sabic, Equinor and via MRDH / IQ. For more information about research into the ecological impact and social perception, please contact HZ researcher Vincent Bax (bax0005@hz.nl).