Solar panels, nature and agriculture

A large increase in the number of solar fields on agricultural land is expected as part of the energy transition in the Netherlands. This raises questions from politicians, local authorities, researchers and the general public concerning the impact of large solar systems on soil quality, nature and the landscape.

In addition, this transition will have implications on the availability (scarcity) of agricultural land, the land price, the opportunities for young farmers, and on extensive farming. Questions are being raised about how to ensure that solar fields are located and developed in a responsible way, considering soil quality, nature values and the surrounding landscape. The assumption is made that the initial situation (nature value, landscape type and soil fertility) and the design of the solar system (size and layout of solar panels) are relevant to this discussion.

The aim of this project is to provide knowledge on the impacts of solar fields on nature, landscapes, soil quality and the agricultural sector. The project consists of an inventory of existing national and international knowledge on this topic, and identifies current knowledge gaps. Furthermore, this project can help to establish a framework for decision-making on location, layout and design of solar fields, like some Dutch provinces are currently develop it.