Sunflowers and lots of other plants have been doing it for millions, even billions of years. Now a solar installation in the Netherlands financed by ING is taking their lead and reaping the benefits of following the sun.
Floating in the middle of a water purification reservoir of Evides, the water utility of the Dutch city of Rotterdam, is a circular field of solar panels. While floating solar installations are not exactly new, the design of this one is. With the help of a solar tracking system, it rotates to follow the sun, generating up to 30 percent more solar energy than fixed solar installations.
The installation, the largest of its type in Europe, came about through a €1.3 million project financing from ING Groenbank and is expected to lead to many large follow-up projects in the Netherlands and the rest of the world.
It was arranged by ING Wholesale Banking's Sustainable Structured Finance team in close cooperation with ING Bank Netherlands and ING's Energy Technical Team. The project was realised by ING client and solar specialists Sunrock, working together with Floating Solar BV, which supplied the tracking technology.
For the Energy Technical Team, this was a particularly rewarding project to work on, tells Mark Sisouw de Zilwa, managing director Energy and head of the Technical Team EMEA/Asia-Pacific at ING Wholesale Banking. "Our team provides technical advice so ING can properly understand the risks involved in the energy projects that we're financing. Much of that advice is still provided as part of ING's conventional upstream energy business. The Evides solar energy project is an example of how we support the Sustainable Structured Finance business. The knowledge involved in assessing the innovative technical aspects of a project like this is an example of how we're supporting ING's goal to steer our business to support the Paris agreement climate goals.
"This may seem at first glance like a small project in terms of the amount of financing, but we expect it to lead to many more opportunities to utlilise this technology in the Netherlands and beyond. It's very rewarding for us to work on the innovations that in the longer term will play a part in creating a more sustainable world and at the same time will contribute to the future success of our clients and our business."