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Zon op Dijken

Location: Ritthem, the Netherlands
Surface area PV: 93
Number of panels: 84
Output: 9500 Wp
Color Technology: ColorBlast Design
Date of delivery: July 2020

Phase: Completed
Client: Rijkswaterstaat
Architect: Jan Maurits van Linge - Xi Ontwerp
Installation & mounting: EVO Energie
Other: TNO

About Zon op Dijken
Zon op Dijken (Sun on Dikes) is a test site where Rijkswaterstaat and TNO aim to research the effect of different types of solar field installations on dikes in the Netherlands. Rijkswaterstaat is part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and responsible for the design, construction, management and maintenance of the main infrastructure facilities in the Netherlands.

There are more than 17500 km worth of water retaining dikes in the Netherlands, a large portion of which present favorible conditions for generating solar energy and are otherwise unused. Such dikes play and important role in local ecosystems, however, and a solar field’s effects of long-term erosion need to be tested, amongst other factors. The Zon op Dijken project aims to research the effect of solar fields on dikes, looking at several key points:

– biodiversity
– erosion
– safety
– maintenance
– social impact
– and more

ColorBlast was chosen specifically for measuring the social impact on tourists and locals. Many civilians complain about the aesthetics of solar fields, and the opportunity to turn them into local artworks or monuments has the potential to increase acceptance, perhaps even stimulate it.

Design process
Architect Jan Maurits van Linge, from Xi Ontwerp, took to the task of designing the artwork for the three ColorBlast arrays. Jan Maurits visited the Zon op Dijken site for inspiration, and researched the opportunities and limits of ColorBlast as a new art medium. Paying homage to the history of Zeeland and to test out the effect of a figurative design, a portrait of Michiel de Ruyter from the Rijksmuseum was chosen as one of the artworks. Inspired by the flora and fauna around Ritthem and to investigate the possibility of ‘hiding’ the solar field, a second design was formulated to camouflage the solar field and also to represent some of the local birds, an oystercatcher and a sparrow. For this design, a repeating, gemotric vector design was used for the camouflage background, and vectorized images of the birds were made in a subtle, brown color palette. For the third design, Jan Maurits created an abstract impression of the tides to give form to the intimate relationship the Dutch have with sea, particularly in Zeeland (which means sea land or land of sea). Each design pays homage to the location of Zon op Dijken in its own way, but also tests some of the limits and boundaries of ColorBlast as a medium.

New image translation software
For the Michiel de Ruyter design, we quickly realized hotspots might become an issue. With vector-based designs, it is easier to balance out the light transmission across a design becuase there are fewer colors involved. The Michiel de Ruyter design used thousands of colors, it quickly became too much to translate to a PV design by hand. We developed, in a short time, a software that translates any image into a hotspot-friendly design. The result is a small loss in contrast and brightness but a giant leap in the safety and lifespan of the PV modules. The software developed for this project is now used in many of our other projects, and we have Jan Maurits to thank for pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the unique medium that is ColorBlast.

PV Details

Module 1

Dimensions 1046 x 1052
Weight ~ 24 kg
Wp ~110 Wp
Technology ColorBlast Design
Cells 36 (6 x 6) cells
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