Arup, in partnership with global renewable energy leader Enel, today released Toward sustainable solar energy: Opportunities in circular economy for dual use solar and energy storage, a report which details how improving renewable energy generation and land management practices can provide substantial benefits for both the environment and local economies.
The report findings capture a detailed snapshot of how the energy industry can advance circular economy principles through more sustainable material sourcing and dual use solar approaches, expanding clean energy production while simultaneously supporting the creation of improved ecological performance, new pollinator habitats and enhancing agricultural production. It also documents the opportunity for landowners, power consumers, and regulators to encourage their solar farms to take a holistic approach to maximize the positive outcomes that can be attained for the environment, economy and community.
“The solar industry is poised to quadruple the amount of installed solar capacity over the next ten years, and with this innovative research we applied a circular economy lens to evaluate our practices and performance in the space to develop a vision for the future of solar. We have the opportunity for wide scale adoption of a purposeful and more sustainable approach to solar development and operations that will ensure productivity and shared value for developers, leaseholders and neighboring farmers alike,” said Marcus Krembs, Head of Sustainability for Enel North America.
As part of this work, Arup evaluated several aspects of the value chain for a utility-scale solar power plant for circular economy opportunities. Together with Enel, existing dual use practices currently in place across the sector were analyzed to understand best practices and opportunities to further the application of the dual use model. Enel also provided data and hands-on development and operational expertise from across Enel Green Power’s solar projects in the United States to supplement input from research and industry experts.