Engie commissions 100 MW solar park in Belgium


French energy company Engie has announced completion of its 99.5 MW Crystal Solar Park Lommel, in Belgium.

The project, near the town of Lommel in the Flemish province of Limburg, is owned by investment agency, Limburgse investeringsmaatschappij.

Local zinc and lead manufacturer Nyrstar signed a 15-year PPA in July to purchase some of the power generated at the site. “Through a direct line between the solar park and our technical installations our zinc smelter will take all the power from the solar panels. We make our production process greener by using renewable energy,” said Nyrstar VP of European Operations, Guido Janssen.

Engie added, other companies that move to the Kristalpark III business park where Nyrstan has operations, may sign up as offtakers of power, with annual generation by the project expected to be around 85 GWh.

The project has been granted a premium of €0.0479/kWh on top of the market power price by the Flemish government for any power it injects into the grid.

Reduced tariff

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Originally, in December 2017, the tariff was set by the Vlaams Energieagentschap at €0.078/kWh, but after Engie concluded its tender process the figure was reduced. “The Crystal Solar Park will require 34% less support than first calculated,” said former Flemish minister for finance, budget and energy Bart Tommelein at the time. The new, €0.0479 figure is the estimated value of green certificates the project will receive for its energy production, paid on top of the energy value.

The solar park is the largest in operation in Belgium. Some 98% of the nation’s 526,000 grid connected solar power systems at the end of last year were residential arrays with a capacity no larger than 10 kW. The combined capacity of small scale solar represents 64% of the Belgian PV capacity total, with the balance chiefly comprising commercial and industrial rooftops. Belgium’s cumulative solar capacity reached 4.25 GW last year.

Encouraging signals for the large scale solar market have come from several projects announced in recent months, including in the floating PV sector.

Belgium, however, remains among the EU member states set to miss 2020 climate change targets.

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