Utrecht University wants to contribute maximally to solving the climate problem. It strives to be CO2 neutral in 2030. By reducing its own energy use, using fossil fuels optimally and making the transition to a 100 % sustainable-energy provision, the university can meet the energy goals within the sustainability ambition.
By using solar energy, Utrecht University makes its electricity requirements more sustainable. The university currently generates green electricity with approximately 6500 solar panels. In Utrecht Science Park, solar panels have been installed on almost all the roofs of university buildings and carports where this is currently technologically possible. In the future, new developments will make it possible to use more roofs. Such as using solar panels with lighter plastic panels. Together with the University Medical Center Utrecht and the HU University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht Science Park has the biggest surface of solar panels in Utrecht and ranks among the biggest in The Netherlands.
Solar meadows in Utrecht Science Park?
In order to generate more green electricity, the university investigates - besides an exploratory survey into the possibilities of wind energy - the possibilities of solar meadows in Utrecht Science Park. Utrecht University investigates how a meadow on campus, where sheep from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are grazing, can be used in triplicate:
1. as a sheep’s meadow
2. as a meadow with solar panels (solar meadow)
3. as a meadow where the biodiversity is enhanced
If the solar meadow is successful, Utrecht University can then generate a bigger part of its electricity requirements sustainably and locally. The generated electricity is put into a smart grid with storage and buffering.
Solar panels offer the possibility to improve the research and education components of the involved faculties. Among other things, students are investigating smart grids and the effect of East-to-West orientation compared to the usual North-to-South placement, and they calculate the expected yield based on historical solar-radiation data.