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.
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:
SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
SDG 15: Life on land
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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:
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
Land use, soil/flora, and vegetation
Geo-hydrological resources (soil erosion and flood)
Overconsumption of water in a desert environment
Wildlife habitat and biodiversity
Archaeological and patrimonial heritage
Any other impact (e.g. concerning panel production process) is excluded.”
Refer to one of more steps of the whole value chain
Engineering and construction
Operation and maintenance
Support Enel’s commitment on SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) with specific emphasis on 7, 8, and 15
In addition, the following qualities are highly desired but not required:
Is an integrated solution that reduces environmental impacts and maximizes social and economic benefits for local communities
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:
Detailed description and explanation of the proposed solution, including technical documentation
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
Rationale for the proposed concept, including its benefits (for environment, Enel Green Power, local community, etc.), feasibility, scalability, and shared value
A bibliography of relevant literature (e.g. journal articles, patents, trade materials) that supports the proposed solution
An assessment of initial installation and continued maintenance costs
If available, evidence of the impact in terms of a circular economy
The proposal should not include any personal identifying information (name, username, company, address, phone, email, personal website, resume, etc.) or any information the Solvers may consider as their Intellectual Property they do not want to share.
The employees of Enel Green Power who are involved in the organization and management of the Competition or admitted to the Open Innovability Portal back office, as well as their spouses or partners and their relatives up to the fourth degree, are not eligible for participation in this Challenge.
Also, employees of the companies of the Enel Group who have worked in the technical sector of the Solar field and that work, in the moment of the competition, on the PV environmental impact activities, or their spouses, partners or any of their relatives up to the fourth grade determined according to Italian law.
This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:
There is a guaranteed award. The awards will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $10,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $1,000.
The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker. Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.
Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on May 28, 2019.
Late submissions will not be considered.
What happens next?
After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s).All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.
InnoCentive collaborates with Enel to manage this challenge.
InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.