DSM unveils landmark testing capabilities at new Dutch solar park
The solar field Louisegroeve is a unique collaboration between DSM and its partners, the solar module manufacturer Tata Power Solar and NaGa Solar, the developer of the solar field, who owns the new facility along with a consortium of private equity investors. All electricity generated by the solar field is offered to local households and companies. DSM’s goal is to generate advanced insights into new solar materials capable of making clean, affordable solar energy a reality for all.
With 10,573 photovoltaic (PV) panels, the Louisegroeve solar field is expected to generate 3.2 GWh of renewable energy per year. All of these panels feature DSM’s industry-leading Anti-Reflective coating, which increases power gain by more than 3% - and is today being used in more than 250 million solar panels worldwide. Most of the panels will also include DSM’s innovative 100% recyclable Endurance backsheets, which are fluorine free, and play a key role in protecting panels from the elements at a competitive cost.
For DSM and its partners, the 3.5 MW facility will be a critical test site for Western European climate conditions. DSM already operates test sites in India and China. The Louisegroeve solar field will be subjected to advanced monitoring, thus generating valuable performance and reliability data. Around 0.5MW (out of 3.5 MW) features installed modules with standard backsheets, thus enabling direct performance comparison of DSM's Endurance backsheet vs standard product at string level.
Furthermore, Stratasense module IV tracers installed on a selected group of modules will monitor the state of health and output performance at the module level. This novel and highly accurate in situ IV tracing method will provide full module characterization while in standard generation mode. Prior to installation, the modules have been validated and analysed in detail by the renowned Fraunhofer ISE institute.
The solar park and its data will be audited by an independent third party (3E) – and will ultimately be used by DSM’s nearby Solar Technology Center to deliver risk assessments on novel new materials with the potential to help the industry reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy and ultimately compete with fossil-based energy sources. In addition to delivering renewable energy, the Louisegroeve solar field delivers additional sustainability benefits: it is built on former coalmining waste ground owned by DSM at the Chemelot Industrial Park in Geleen, in the southern Netherlands - thus using minimal natural resources and preserving valuable agricultural land.
Pascal de Sain, Vice-President of DSM Advanced Solar comments: “This is a landmark day, not just for DSM but for the European solar industry. Through collaboration with our trusted partners NaGa Solar and Tata Power Solar we now have the capability to conduct advanced testing of new solar materials and technology in a Western European climate. This will boost our own R&D efforts and hence facilitate science-based materials innovation in an industry dearly needing it. We are convinced that the insights we gain from the Louisegroeve facility will be crucial in helping solar panel manufacturers develop more effective, sustainable and affordable solutions and continue to build trust in DSM’s material innovations at investor level.”