Nature Inclusive Solar Parks: opportunity or threat?

Interest from builders

Solar energy currently has everyone’s attention. With substantial subsidies, the government is now stimulating the placement of solar panels on all sorts of roofs in the Netherlands. But now there is a new growth market emerging: solar parks on land. In fact, it caused so much hullabaloo last year that there was a motion ratified in Dutch House of Representatives and the industry Sun on Land Code of Ethics was introduced by Holland Solar and others. What we at Kiwa are seeing is that builders and developers are currently assessing the opportunities and threats to projects, and it is mainly this group that is coming to us for information about Nature Inclusive Solar Parks.

The fight for public space

Unlike solar panels on roofs, solar parks are in full view on large tracts of land. The paradox is that, while sustainability is the goal, it is leading to large industrial installations in the middle of nature. The problem in the Netherlands is that public space must be shared by many different parties, such as local residents, farmers and landowners, and also companies and leisure visitors. Because of the size and impact of solar parks, they will need to fit precisely into their environment if they are to avoid being mired in resistance and legal proceedings. It is odd that municipalities and provinces do not yet seem very concerned with responsible solar parks, but I can understand how a builder or developer would want to know if there is a more respectful way that also works well.

What is a Nature Inclusive Solar Park?

With a Nature Inclusive Solar Park, all phases from design and construction to management and eventual removal are firmly cemented in a responsible and well-documented approach. Kiwa has developed the concept of Nature Inclusive Solar Parks in collaboration with NISP certified. Both the concept and implementation respond to the code of conduct and the interests of stakeholders. So, it is a manageable solution 'by design.' The concept offers builders a blueprint for every phase of the project. 

Avoiding stumbling blocks

The important thing is that you can demonstrate how you have taken the right steps and used the right materials and resources. Let’s not forget that covering hectares of land compromises the access of light, air and water to the soil. There will be no proper filtration, causing various long-term consequences such as the loss of vegetation and the disappearance of insects and birds. A certified NISP takes this into account and prevents all sorts of stumbling blocks.

NISP Tool and Certification

An NISP is technically well thought out, integrates well within the natural landscape, is regenerative for the ecosystem and is developed in accordance with the region and local communities. To help ensure this, Kiwa has developed a special guideline: the BRL K11007. The great thing about this is that it is based on the NISP Tool, so it gives you a good chance of a successful certification. And to solidify the chances even further, we also have an audit tool available that allows you to verify everything yourself before the audit takes place.