Solar energy seems to be the solution of the future. It is a clean form of energy that can be generated more and more efficiently. However, the increasing popularity of solar panels is also accompanied by many question marks and criticism. Although there are few negative comments about solar panels on roofs of homes and businesses, the number of critical questions about solar farms is increasing.
Solar farms offer an effective way to generate a lot of clean energy in a concentrated place. In order to meet the increasing demand for green energy, energy companies are increasingly investing in this type of solar pasture. Solar panels are therefore more often placed in public spaces. Large areas of (agricultural) land make way for solar meadows. The main criticism is made of the pollution of the horizon, the disappearance of precious agricultural land and the endangerment of ecosystems.
Resistance is particularly pre-emerging in areas where nature reserves have to make way for solar farms. Many people consider the solar farms to be horizon polluted. They prefer not to look out for solar panels or see the point. In addition, local residents are regularly afraid of a drop in the value of their home. Although the solar farms are still too young to draw conclusions about this, there are indications that these concerns are not unfounded. Research by the UvA and VU shows that there is evidence of a slight decrease in value. Thanks to the criticism from different corners, the parks are often delayed or even not realized at all. As a result, the energy transition is much delayed.
Thanks to the lucrative yield of solar panels, it becomes financially attractive for many farmers to lease their farmland to solar farms. The subsidies currently provided by the government on renewable energy make this even more attractive. As a result, many hectares of agricultural land have already disappeared. Farmers are afraid of the price drive of agricultural land, and the disappearance of large tracts of fertile land. In the future, efforts will also be made to make the agricultural sector more sustainable, requiring more land. The combination of price push-up and the disappearance of large tracts of land means that many farmers see the future bleakly.
A third concern about solar farms is the effect on nature and the environment. If the solar farm is not carefully equipped, it can have a negative impact on the environment and biodiversity in an area. A solar farm can lead to soil degradation, soil erosion, and a decrease in arable and meadow birds in an area. Although this effect does not always have to take place when ecological preconditions are taken into account, this is not the case when the majority of solar farms are located. If the soil under the almost completely shielded by the panels, the undergrowth dies and the soil fertility decreases. This in turn has a negative effect on the absorption capacity of water. Another risk is soil pollution if the right materials are not used carefully. Although these negative consequences can be avoided by proper policy making, this is not currently an obligation from the government, so the negative consequences are not yet excluded.
Efficient use of existing buildings
An obvious solution is to double-use existing surfaces. By giving priority to investing roofs and parking spaces, the solar panels do not compete with other possible interests. A plot of land is thus optimally utilized. The investment of the roofs of buildings and houses, and the use of parking spaces should therefore be given priority. A solar carport offers an opportunity to go one step further. This also allows parking spaces to have a triple function, by acting as a parking space, sustainable energy source, and charging station.
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