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Largest solar car park in the world opens at famous Dutch music festival

The largest solar car park in the world has opened at Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands
The largest solar car park in the world has opened at Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands   -   Copyright  Lowlands Festival
By Ben Anthony Horton

Lowlands Festival in the Netherlands attracts over 50,000 music lovers every year.

The three-day event on the outskirts of Amsterdam boasts an impressive array of alternative artists - from rock and pop stars, to world-renowned drum 'n’ bass DJs.

But as Europe moves towards renewable energy alternatives, the festival is looking to improve its green credentials - with a new solar car park stealing the show.

We want to cultivate an optimistic vision of the future and play a role in solving climate problems.

“As a festival-organiser, we want to cultivate an optimistic vision of the future and play a role in solving climate problems,” says Lowlands director, Eric van Eerdenburg.

”We hope this construction can be a source of inspiration for our visitors to contribute - no matter how small - to making the world more sustainable.”

What is a solar car park?

Lowlands Festival
Cars are parked beneath the bifacial solar panelsLowlands Festival

The new solar car park is spearheading Lowlands’ drive towards sustainability. The parking lot covers 350,000 square metres, boasting 90,000 solar panels and space for over 15,000 cars.

As festival-goers park up and enjoy themselves by the stage, the solar carport is capable of generating up to 35 MWp (Megawatts-peak) of energy from the sun at the same time. That’s enough power to supply 10,000 households, or 100 Lowlands Festivals.

“For our company, it is essential that we are committed to a sustainable society,” says Ruben Brouwer from MOJO Concerts, the company behind Lowlands.

“This is an important step within our energy transition towards using renewable energy solely.”

Lowlands Festival
Festivals are renowned for their detrimental impact on the spaces they inhabitLowlands Festival

The Dutch festival has been working for years to make the event more climate conscious, but energy consumption remains a challenge. Approximately 300,000 kWh (kilowatt-hour) of electricity is consumed at the festival every year, with fossil fuels providing the vast majority of that figure.

With the construction of the solar carport, the event is taking an enormous leap towards green energy - and reimagining the relationship between the music industry and the climate.

Festivals are renowned for their detrimental impact on the spaces they inhabit. From drug-infused rivers to abandoned camping equipment, live music events provide little refuge for the nature they enfold.

In an effort to combat this reputation, the Lowlands Carport is using bifacial solar panels - a unique form of solar cell capable of permitting light to pass through it.

This means light reflected from the ground can be used to generate energy. It also allows the grass to grow, providing sustenance for local sheep who inhabit the field for the remainder of the year.

We hope it will inspire others to combine parking with sustainable energy generation in more places in The Netherlands.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support from governments, enabling us to realise this textbook example of ‘multiple land use’,” says Niek Tamminga from Solarfields, the company behind the construction.

“We hope it will inspire others to combine parking with sustainable energy generation in more places in The Netherlands.”

Lowlands Festival will take place on 19-21 August in Biddinghuizen, near Amsterdam. With 12 stages, the line-up of around 250 acts includes Arlo Parks, Sam Fender and Michael Kiwanuka.

Watch the video above to find out more about the solar car park.

Video editor • Ben Anthony Horton