Over 17,000 floating solar panels will generate green electricity equivalent to the annual consumption of 2,000 homes.
The first floating solar park in Belgium’s Flanders region was officially opened on 8th September as Flemish Minister of Energy, Zuhal Demir, helped install the last of 17,250 solar panels to mark completion of the groundbreaking project located at our Schansheide silica sand quarry. The installation further demonstrates Sibelco’s commitment to generating environmental value as we progress towards our 2025 sustainability targets.
The park will generate 7 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, 80 percent of which will be used to power our Dessel sand processing plant. Together with the site’s three existing giant wind turbines, this means that over half of the energy consumed by our Dessel operation will be from renewable sources.
The new solar park is a collaboration between Sibelco, leading Limburg investment company LRM, renewable energy experts Group Machiels, and energy supplier EDF Luminus. The ambitious project was conceived in 2017 with construction work beginning in March 2020. Work on the scheme progressed swiftly and safely, despite the logistical challenges presented by COVID-19.
Flemish Energy Minister, Zuhal Demir said: “The solar panels are conveniently located with no new space taken up. The Flemish Government wants to give full support to such projects. The park will also carry out measurements and share its results with the Flemish Energy Agency.”
“Initiatives such as these help the province to achieve its climate neutrality objectives,” added Cathy Berx, Governor of Antwerp. “This floating solar park makes optimal and multifunctional use of the possibilities that lakes like this offer for nature, but also for the generation of renewable and sustainable energy. Its added value and importance cannot be overestimated.”