Building solar panels on a dike with grass is not a good idea. The grass under the panels dies, which affects the strength of the dike. This is shown by a test that TNO carried out together with the water board near Vlissingen, Omroep Zeeland reports.
“Solar energy generated on dikes has great potential,” wrote research institute TNO at the start of the trial in the village of Ritthem. The Netherlands has about 17,000 kilometers of flood defences, mainly dikes. About 1600 kilometers of that would be suitable for laying solar panels on.
But after three years of research, it appears that the dike should not be covered with grass. “Systems in which the grass covering of the dike is largely shaded by the solar panels are not suitable for the time being, because the quality of the turf deteriorates quickly,” TNO now says on the website.
That is bad news, because according to the research institute, the turf is essential for dike safety. Grass prevents the dike body from eroding. “A number of attempts have been made to get the light to the right places, but not yet with the desired result,” says Maarten Dörenkämper of TNO.
Quality grass cover
Yet Dörenkämper does not give up. You could replace the grass on the dike with asphalt or concrete slabs, for example. “It does not have to take into account the quality of the grass covering and is therefore simpler and promising.”
An additional advantage: you can quickly start installing solar panels on paved dike surfaces, without much additional research. “You shouldn’t want that in places where there is a lot of recreation, there is no social support for that. It fits better on dikes that are more remote, with an industrial character.”
- Half of the dikes do not yet meet the standard for 2050
- Since the 1990s we have given the water more space, and that is now paying off