Residents build 15,000 solar panels for the City of Ghent


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Corporate Sustainability


Over the past few months, citizen cooperative Beauvent, together with Lemahieu Group (timber and panel importer), has installed a total of 15,000 solar panels on Lemahieu Group’s warehouses at Zuiddokweg in Ghent. The installation cost more than €5 million and will produce 7,000 megawatt hours per year, the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 2,000 households. The City of Ghent will purchase the generated power for 15 years at a fixed price.

The power purchase agreement was overseen by Vlaams Energiebedrijf (VEB) and is a pioneering project in Flanders: for the first time, a city is buying solar power produced on a privately owned roof. The solar panels were co-financed by 750 Ghent residents to the tune of €700,000.

The City of Ghent is already generating some 10 per cent of the electricity consumed by the city’s buildings from the solar panels on its own roofs. Thanks to the new solar panels on the Zuiddok, the City will, in one fell swoop, far exceed its target of 30 per cent locally produced electricity.

The plant has been producing a large amount of Ghent’s solar power since February and will be officially inaugurated today in the presence of the Beauvent cooperative members from Ghent.

Frédéric Haghebaert, Managing Director of Beauvent: “This solar energy installation at Lemahieu Group is one of the largest in Ghent. This unique project was only made possible by the financial support of 750 Ghent residents. We are proud that, as a citizen cooperative, we can support the City of Ghent in achieving its sustainability ambitions. The profit we make from this project will be given back to our cooperative members. This shows that citizens can really make a difference in the energy transition.”

Mike Lemahieu, CEO of Lemahieu Group: “As a Ghent company, we’re immensely proud to be able to use our logistics centre to help realise the City of Ghent's objectives, together with Beauvent. I hope that, as pioneers, we can convince other private companies to take this step.”

City of Ghent Alderman for Facility Management, Hafsa El-Bazioui: “We are proud that, through this project, we can collaborate with a large number of Ghent residents to build a sustainable Ghent. Generating energy locally and under our own management is an important step in this respect.”