After a successful pilot conducted by Vattenfall at the Parc Cynog Wind Farm in Wales, Nuon has said it is preparing for the construction of at least six new solar power plants at already existing/planned wind farms.
The solar parks will be able to utilize the infrastructure of the wind farms, which should significantly reduce project costs. The pilot study in Wales revealed that wind and solar generation complement each other and make for efficient use of the infrastructure capacity. “When the wind blows hard, there is less sun, and if there is a lot of sun it is usually less windy,” explains Diederik Apotheker, team leader at Nuon Solar Energy. “Another plus is that we are already well known in the areas where we want to realize the solar parks.”
The largest of the planned solar parks will be located at Wieringmeerpolder, where construction on a new wind farm is already due to begin later in the year. “Nuon continues growth in CO2 free energy sources. Along with wind, widespread use of solar energy is indispensible to the energy transition,” says Margit Deimel, head of development at Nuon Wind. “By combining wind farms in a cost effective manner with solar, we make optimum use of the opportunities.”
Nuon is yet to take the final decision on investment for the projects, which it says will run into the tens of millions of euros. The company has plans to allow residents of the surrounding area to participate in the projects through crowdfunding.
Plans to include a storage application at one of the wind + solar projects in Haringvliet are also mentioned in a Nuon press release, though a formal decision has not been made about this. Solar and wind capacities have been successfully combined many times in the past, and storage is increasingly seen as an important addition. A large project in Australia that combines all three technologies is currently under construction.
After lagging behind many of its European neighbors for years, the Netherlands looks to be picking up the pace of solar deployment in 2017, having connected its largest ever power plant to the grid back in January.