The Walas team was concerned about the electrical energy use of the Carbon6 complex and tackled this problem with signature creativity and systems thinking approach. Leveraging the spacious parking lot, the CarbonBlue urban solar project offers a solution to further reduce the energy costs and reliance on the energy grid, and to transition to cleaner energy sources. Parking is required for the local community and to meet the demands of commuters using the nearby train station. While the parking spaces could not be eliminated, mounting panels on an elevated structure that covers the lon not only solves the problem of the panel placement, it also provides filtered light during the day, captures rain water, cleans the surrounding air and water, creates jobs and provides a green retreat for the community.
The CarbonBlue solar park will feed the solar energy (with an estimated production of 900,000 kWh each year) into the building as well as charging stations for electric vehicles, meeting an expected 36% of the energy demand of the Carbon6 complex. The total investment of € 2.2 million has an expected payback period of 6 years and new business models include a car wash and energy storage will add to the final success. The first solar structure is well under way, and already showing returns, with the remainder of the structure expected to be completed in July 2018. The project is the result of a close collaboration of partners from The Netherlands, Germany, Nigeria, Austria and Canada.