Belgian region of Flanders sees first MW-sized PV project come online after revision of incentive program in 2013

The Ministry of Energy of the Belgian macro-region of Flanders, Bart Tommelein, has officially inaugurated a 2.2 MW rooftop PV plant installed on the distribution center of the U.S. provider of equipment and accessories for sports and fitness activities Nike in Ham, province of Limburg.

The installation relies on 8,136 solar panels and is able to cover around 15% of the building’s power consumption, the minister said on its website. According to him, the project is the largest PV plant built since the green certificate scheme for solar and renewables was revised in 2013 and PV projects over 10 kW were excluded from the program.

Since then, the Flemish solar market has grown mainly thanks to the residential market.

“Large companies are the best candidate to install solar modules on their roofs. I hope the good example offered by Nike will inspire other entreprises,” Tommelein said. “Private citizens have already shown interest in solar energy, we now hope that also private companies will invest in large-scale PV projects, as they have space and financial resources.”

According to recent numbers released by Tommelein, which cited statistics from local power distributors Eandis and Infrax, 16,863 new PV installations were registered in the period between January and May 2017, thus almost doubling the number of new registrations of the same period in the past year, which was 8,840.

Flanders had 2,451 MW of installed PV power at the end of 2016. Last year, new additions totaled 103 MW. According to local renewable energy association Apere, the newly installed PV power in Flanders for 2016 is mostly represented by residential and commercial installations. This trend will likely be confirmed in 2017.

Overall, Belgium has 3.42 GW of installed PV capacity. The remaining amount is installed in the French-speaking region of Wallonia (916 MW) and in the metropolitan region of Brussels (56 MW).