Belgium’s largest PV rooftop commissioned by ArcelorMittal

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Luxembourg-headquartered Indian steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal has announced completion of a megawatt-sized rooftop PV system at its factory in Ghent, in the Belgian region of Flanders.

The steelmaker said the €7.5 million rooftop array, which features 27,104 solar panels from an undisclosed manufacturer and is able to generate 10 GWh per year, is the largest in Belgium.

The installation will operate along with 14 wind turbines at the site for a total clean energy generation capacity of around 50 MW. The energy used will power manufacturing, said ArcelorMittal.

The mounting systems used for the PV project were made with the steelmaker’s Magnelis product, which the manufacturer claims is particularly adapted for large scale solar project structures.

Crowdfunding

Dutch energy provider Eneco, which installed the rooftop system along with EPC contractor Ecorus, said the installation was the second project it had carried out that had been supported by crowdfunding. ArcelorMittal Belgium’s 5,800 employees were offered the chance to invest €250-1,000 in the project for a guaranteed gross return of 4%. “If you, for example, lend €500 you will earn an extra €20 euros a year,” said Iwein Goigne, CEO of Eneco Solar Belgium. “In six years’ time the employee earns €120. After the term, she or he will recover the original investment of €500 as well.”

Belgium has seen increased interest in large scale rooftop solar in recent months. Wallonian installer Perpetum Energy in July announced a plan to build a 20 MW solar carport for a zoo near Brugelette and a 2.2 MW array was commissioned in June at the industrial plant of Belgian company Ontex.

At the end of last year, Belgium had a little more than 4 GW of installed PV generation capacity, about three-quarters of which was in Flanders.