The Utrecht Science Park takes sustainable step forward with solar panels on carports of charging hubs

Utrecht University increases impact of Smart Solar Charging project

Utrecht University has installed solar cells at two charging stations for electric cars in the Utrecht Science Park (USP). Since this autumn, 300 solar panels have been installed on the roofs above the parking spaces at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The solar panels can be used to charge electric cars of staff, students and visitors directly with locally generated solar energy, while protecting them from precipitation and the hot summer sun. The intention is to also cover other parking spaces with solar panels. In addition, the university is looking at ways to use the generated energy more intelligently, for example by placing batteries on location.

zonnepanelen bij USP

Sustainable steps

Jolt Oostra, portfolio manager energy: "With these covers we ensure double use of space for our parking lots in the Utrecht Science Park. We want to avoid the use of valuable green space as much as possible on our way to CO2-neutral operations in 2030. At the same time, we are contributing with the solar panels to Smart Solar Charging, a study into the benefits of smart and solar-controlled charging of electric cars that is being carried out in part by Utrecht University".

Living lab

Utrecht Science Park is a living lab in which the generation, storage and return of energy becomes a reality. In combination with bi-directional charging poles, electric cars can act as a battery on wheels. Innovative charging stations have been built at four parking locations in 2019 as part of the Smart Solar Charging project, led by LomboXnet and the Utrecht Sustainability Institute.  By installing the solar cells, Utrecht University is taking the initiative to increase the impact of bi-directional charging stations.

The installation of solar panels on the roofs of parking lots is one of the steps Utrecht University is taking to make its electricity supply more sustainable. It is already filling as many roofs of its buildings with solar panels as possible. Because this is not enough, the university has now started using carports for parking lots. The university is also investigating whether sunbathing lawns can get a place in the USP. The university is also looking into double use of space, such as parking lots.