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Solar power: pick the low-hanging fruit in today’s energy transition

Sustainability

As of this summer, you can find 12 new solar panels on my roof. Sure, I was already sourcing my electricity from a sustainable supplier. But it felt like it was time to take the next step in reducing my ‘climate footprint’. I wanted to experience the transition toward solar power first hand. How does it work exactly; what do you need to arrange; what are the rewards? There’s enough to read about this subject, but the best way to find out how something works is by doing and experiencing it for yourself. And nowadays, solar power is also an interesting option in financial terms. Thanks to price cuts and efficiency improvements, this technology usually pays for itself within less than a decade, while the panels have a useful service life of 20 to 25 years. This means that investing in solar panels is not only a responsible move when it comes to countering climate change, but it’s also good for your pocket.

Solar power is starting to gain ground in our port. Sizeable expanses of roof surface have already been fitted with solar panels at the RDM site and Waalhaven. They recently made a start on a pilot project with floating panels at the Slufter sludge depot. And many of our buoys, dolphins and waterway markings are already powered by their own solar panels. It’s great to see solar power being used in all sorts of new and creative ways. But we could do so much more in our port. You can still see a huge number of virginal, uncovered roof surfaces. This equals a huge volume of potential power-generating capacity that has not yet been tapped into. A global scan shows that the roofs of the port’s warehouses alone represent a potential generating capacity of 100 megawatts. This is enough to satisfy the annual power requirement of some 30,000 households.

And as I admire the new solar panels sparkling on the roof of my house, I realise I should have taken the plunge sooner. Nowadays, switching to solar power couldn’t be easier. And some panel suppliers are happy to take everything off your hands – from filling in the paperwork to determining the best solution. The panels can be up and running on your roof in half a day. And there’s a special app to monitor their daily yield and see how much you’ve saved in CO2 emissions. It’s a handy, fun and educational tool, and it feels nice to know your dishwasher isn’t contributing to climate change. Actually, I can’t come up with a reason why we shouldn’t switch to solar – both at home and in the port. Solar power is the low-hanging fruit in today’s energy transition. Let’s not hesitate to pick it.

Remco Neumann
Corporate Social Responsibility Programme Manager

Solar power is starting to gain ground in our port. There is a pilot study in progress with floating solar panels at the Sluter. An the lights on the dolphins that line Caland Canal are powered by the sun.

Sustainability

We are committed to ensuring that the port and its environs are safe, healthy and appealing. We aim to counter climate change while ensuring that the port area makes a significant contribution to Dutch prosperity and employment.

Energy in transition

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is committed to combating climate change and wants to play a leading role in the global energy transition. The reduction of CO2 emissions and efficient use of raw and residual materials are important tasks for the Port Authority.

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