How can we create public support for building solar parks?
Last week, Sunday; the yearly congress for the solar-energy sector in the Netherlands and Flanders took place. Some leading experts shared their vision on a few emerging developments.
This last year many messages appeared in the media about large scaled solar parks. The biggest lesson we have learned is the following: taking the resistance of the community, against for example placing the windmill parks, into consideration. Nobody really wants solar panels blocking their view. Therefore it is important to involve the community in these projects. This can be done by for example making a part of the generated energy available to everyone or by proposing financial benefits. This will result in a more accepting community.
Next to land, the water surface is also a very suitable location to install solar parks. When installing the solar parks on the water surface, one will face different challenges than when installing them on land, for example the nature and the effects on the aquatic life. Moreover, maintenance and technique is also more difficult to perform, as water and electricity are a dangerous combination. At the moment, inland waters seem to be the most suitable locations. Placing the floating PV-systems on open water is too defiant, due to the wind and waves.
Integration of PV
There are many possibilities for integrating solar energy into buildings. One of the demands for architects is that the PV systems should be aesthetic. There already a lot of solutions for making the systems more aesthetic, it is now possible to have solar cells in different colors or even ‘camouflage’ solar panels that look like brick walls. The biggest challenge is however to decrease the investments and create a more intense cooperation between PV specialists and contracting firms.
Thin-film solar cells
There are parties that process thin-film solar cells in the built environment. This can be cut to the right length. This is a flexible option, as the thin-film can be patched until the right voltage has been reached. The biggest challenge is obtaining the certifications. Unfortunately this will take a while until this technique can be adopted on a larger scale.