A 35 MW solar power carport with 90,000 solar panels was launched the first week of May in the Netherlands. Biddinghuizen is the solar carport location, which is the same site for the annual Lowlands music festival. The festival receives tens of thousands of visitors each year, so the parking area covers 35 hectares and provides 15,000 parking spaces. Carports are typically effective sites for solar power installations because they provide flat surfaces that aren’t being used for anything else, so it is not necessary to use any additional land.
Solarfields, a company based in the Netherlands, installed the solar power system and made it operational. (The company has a goal that about one million Dutch homes will have sustainable electricity by 2030.)
Esther Terpstra, Solarfields’ Communications Manager, answered some questions about the solar carport for CleanTechnica.
Is the capacity of the huge solar carport enough to provide electricity for all the needs of the Lowlands festival?
Lowlands aims to run its festival entirely on green energy in two years’ time. The solar panels in the parking lot must eventually be connected to a battery, so that the energy can be used directly for the festival and no generators are needed anymore. Only 1 percent of the 90,000 solar panels are needed to power the festival.
Before using the solar carport electricity, where did the electricity come from and what fuel was used? What was the cost for each festival?
The annual Lowlands Festival takes place at a fixed location in Biddinghuizen. The organization has been working for years to make the festival more sustainable. Energy consumption remains a challenge here. Approximately 300,000 kWh of electricity is consumed per Lowlands edition. Generators currently generate almost all electricity. The costs are unknown to us.
What was the cost of the solar carport and what are the projected savings in energy costs?
We cannot disclose the exact investment, but these are significant investments (and not possible without a subsidy). The 90,000 solar panels generate enough green energy for about 10,000 households.
About how many people attend the Lowlands festival each year, and are there other events throughout the year?
Lowlands annually attracts 60,000 visitors. Only a few times a year the site is used as a parking lot. Besides Lowlands, the site is also used for other festivals, including Defcon and Walibi Fright Nights. When no cars are parked, the area is grazed by sheep.
Why was it decided to construct such a solar power carport there?
In the Netherlands we have to be aware of the available space. A solar carport is a perfect example of double use of space. In this case even triple through the use of bifacial solar panels. As a result, the grass grows …….