Solar panel pilot on dike near Ritthem

24 Jul 2020

On the inner dike of the Spuikom near Ritthem in Zeeland, various systems with solar panels have been installed in recent months. A consortium of public authorities, knowledge institutes and system builders is carrying out the three-year Zon op Dijken (Sun on Dikes) study, led by TNO and the Foundation for Applied Water Research (STOWA), the knowledge centre for all water boards.

On a dike in Zeeland, various systems with solar panels have been installed in a pilot project. The trial focuses mainly on the requirements of water safety.

The trial focuses mainly on the requirements of water safety. The experts are also investigating which panels best fit into the landscape and the support base in the surrounding area. As one of the partners, the Scheldestromen water board will make the pilot location available.

Maarten Dörenkämper, TNO project leader: “The transition to sustainable energy in the Netherlands takes up a lot of space. We won’t achieve the climate objectives if we only install solar power systems on roofs. The dual usage of dikes, water safety and energy generation is therefore an attractive option. Within this project, we’re taking stock of how dikes can be combined with solar power systems both functionally and in terms of the landscape.”

Member of the executive management team of the Scheldestromen water board, Gert van Kralingen: “Research is needed to ensure that the solar panels do not have an adverse effect on water safety. This is primarily being investigated in the Ritthem pilot, and we are happy to contribute to this. But dikes also have great scenic, cultural-historical and ecological value. As far as we’re concerned, these values will also be taken into account if one of our dikes is used in the future.”

Measuring the energy performance of innovative solar panels on dikes

One of the system builders is Delmeco, which is testing an innovative dyke-integrated system in Ritthem. Another type is Eurorail; this system protrudes above the dike and should have a beneficial impact on the dike revetments.

Following the installation, the dike will be periodically inspected and continuously monitored using a network of sensors. TNO will measure the energy performance of the various systems. The turf is an important element in the proper functioning of the dike. Wageningen University & Research will monitor the effects of the solar panels on the turf and, together with Deltares, will look at the effects of this on water safety. The water board can intervene and halt the pilot if there is any reason to do so.

The dike will be returned to its original condition once the pilot has been completed. The consortium will then come up with a recommendation on whether additional research is necessary. The outcome of the research in Ritthem will be included in the Regional Energy Strategy.

This project is being given financial support by TKI Urban Energy.

More information about this pilot project?

Please contact Maarten Dörenkämper ›



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