ENEL OPEN INNOVABILITY CHALLENGE | Mitigating the Environmental Impact of Large Photovoltaic Plants

02/04/2019 - Enel

Challenge Expiration Date: 15/07/2019.

Reward: $10,000


Enel Green Power (EGP) is the leader in the renewable energy sector and operates in Europe, Americas, Asia, Oceania and Africa. Thanks to innovative energy technologies, EGP produces power from solar and other renewable energy sources. EGP is committed to contributing to sustainable development and in this context, EGP is interested in finding innovative ideas for mitigating the environmental impact of large photovoltaic (PV) plants while maximizing the benefits for local communities.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.

Meet our challenge!



Solar power is a renewable, alternative energy source that can be harnessed every day in all weather conditions; the number of operational PV power plants has grown rapidly worldwide. While the amount of power generated can exceed a gigawatt, PV plants require large tracts of land for panel installation resulting in ecological changes and other environmental issues such as desertification due to the presence of solar panels, concurrent use with respect to agriculture, reduction of flora and fauna, water contamination, water use for panel cleaning, etc.

Therefore, EGP is primarily interested in finding actions to mitigate the concurrent use of the land and that can generate a positive impact associated with a LARGE PV PLANT. These can be implemented in new and existing PV plants. Attention will also be given to proposals maximizing social benefits for local communities. The ultimate goal is to find disruptive ideas that can be developed on a global scale for a true epochal change in this energy sector.

This Challenge provides contribution to the following Sustainable Development Goals:




The construction of large photovoltaic (PV) plants is continuously growing worldwide. The main advantage of solar power, from an environmental point of view, is mainly related to the reduction of greenhouse gases, however, some concerns have been raised with regard to land use, water consumption, and microclimate modification. Some efforts have already been made by Enel Green Power (EGP) in this sector and single pilot initiatives are being developed in various countries with regard to revegetation, restoration of land and soil reuse, fauna rescue, etc. Each site that is selected for a PV plant has unique characteristics with respect to the environment, geography, local culture, and socioeconomics, therefore, a one-size-fits-all solution is unlikely to exist.

Recently, EGP connected two new solar parks to the Mexican power grid, providing more than one gigawatt of solar capacity. The Villanueva project is just one example of how careful planning by EGP minimized environmental impact and also stimulated the local economy. Sustainable construction remains a hallmark of EGP facilities and this is exemplified by the Totana project in Spain. Another example is an ongoing research program aimed at identifying sustainable vegetation growing practices creating shared benefits to the solar project (Aurora Solar Project in Minnesota) and to agriculture in the area surrounding the facility through pollinator-friendly practices.



Enel Green Power is searching for ideas that either mitigate the environmental impact of large PV plants or preferably generate a more positive outcome. The identified interventions should be applied either to new PV plants or as a retrofit solution.

NOTE: Issues regarding the disposal and recycling of PV modules and other plant components are out of scope and thus excluded.

Submissions must have the following qualities:

  1. Be aimed at finding new ideas to promote actions concerning the mitigation of the impacts (or the generation of a positive impact) on one or more of the following categories
    1. Land use, soil/flora, and vegetation
    2. Geo-hydrological resources (soil erosion and flood)
    3. Overconsumption of water in a desert environment
    4. Wildlife habitat and biodiversity
    5. Microclimate
    6. Archaeological and patrimonial heritage
  2. Refer to one of more steps of the whole value chain
    1. Business development
    2. Engineering and construction
    3. Operation and maintenance
  3. Support Enel’s commitment on SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) with specific emphasis on 78, and 15

In addition, the following qualities are highly desired but not required:

  1. Is an integrated solution that reduces environmental impacts and maximizes social and economic benefits for local communities
  2. Where possible, the solution is framed in a circular economy perspective



The submitted proposal should be a maximum of 10 pages and include the following:

  1. Detailed description and explanation of the proposed solution, including technical documentation
  2. Information about the environmental, geographical, and social context for which the solution is suitable (air temperature, humidity, rainfall, solar radiation, soil type, altitude, etc.); local community inclusion, SME development, local sustainable development
  3. Rationale for the proposed concept, including its benefits (for environment, Enel Green Power, local community, etc.), feasibility, scalability, and shared value
  4. A bibliography of relevant literature (e.g. journal articles, patents, trade materials) that supports the proposed solution
  5. An assessment of initial installation and continued maintenance costs
  6. If available, evidence of the impact in terms of a circular economy


Meet our challenge!


Tipologia: Challenge prize

Fonte: https://openinnovability.enel.com/projects/Mitigating-the-Environmental-Impact-of-Large-Photovoltaic-Plants

Paese: Italia, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgio, Brasile, Canada, Cile, Cina, Corea del Sud, Danimarca, Egitto, Finlandia, Francia, Germania, Giappone, Gran Bretagna, India, Israele, Lituania, Messico, Norvegia, Paesi Bassi, Repubblica Ceca, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Spagna, Sudafrica, Svezia, Svizzera, Stati Uniti d′America, Vietnam

SSD: Tutti i settori