Peer-reviewed paper published: Typology of Solar Energy Landscapes
In August 2022, the article Towards a typology of solar energy landscapes: Mixed-production, nature based and landscape inclusive solar power transitions written by Dirk Oudes, Adri van den Brink and Sven Stremke was published (open access) in Energy Research and Social Science. In the paper, a typology of multifunctional solar power plants (solar parks) is articulated based upon a study of 20 European cases. The typology consists of four dimensions: energy, economic, nature and landscape. These dimensions lead to three main types: mixed- production, nature-inclusive, landscape-inclusive, and their combinations. The typology gives direction to and provides ingredients for (local) decision-making on solar energy landscapes.
Abstract: Development of ground-mounted solar power plants (SPP) is no longer limited to remote and low population density areas, but arrives in urban and rural landscapes where people live, work and recreate. Societal considerations are starting to change the physical appearance of SPPs, leading to so-called multifunctional SPPs. In addition to electricity production, multifunctional SPP produce food, deliver benefits for flora and fauna, mitigate visual impact or preserve cultural heritage. In this paper, we systematically examine the different spatial configurations of multifunctional SPPs that reflect a range of contemporary societal considerations. The purpose of this research is to create and test an SPP typology that can support evidence-based and transparent decision- making processes, from location finding to implementation. Comparative case analysis, expert interviews and questionnaires are used to distinguish different types of SPP. We propose a typology that consists of four dimensions: energy, economic, nature and landscape. These dimensions lead to three main types of multifunctional SPP: mixed-production, nature-inclusive, landscape-inclusive, and their combinations. This typology supports decision-making processes on solar power plants and adds to the existing (solar) energy landscape vocabulary. In doing so, the research supports the transformation of energy systems in a way that meets both the quantitative goals and qualitative considerations by society.
Reference: Oudes, Dirk; van den Brink, Adri; Stremke, Sven (2022). Towards a typology of solar energy landscapes: Mixed-production, nature based and landscape inclusive solar power transitions. Energy Research & Social Science 91, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2022.102742
You can access the paper here (open access).
Figure: Four dimensions of multifunctional solar power plants: energy, economic, nature and landscape.