Solarclick collaboration keeps local energy transition turning in Brussels

What is the most daunting thing about the shared energy transition currently underway? It may be the exponential rate at which it needs to scale up to meet the Paris Agreement’s targets to avoid catastrophic climate change.

But that is what is happening in Brussels, proud Energy Cities member, thanks toSolarclick.

This programme is the result of a collaboration between Bruxelles Environnement, the regional government, and Sibelga, who manage the distribution networks for electricity and gas in Brussels’ 19 communes.

The project launched in 2017 but kicked off in the spring of 2018 with a 660 m2 PV array on a senior citizen care home. Between 2017 and 2020 the collaboration is planning on rolling out 85 000 m2 on the roofs of public buildings around the European capital. And the progress to date has been remarkable. By the end of the summer the collaboration had resulted in more than 3000 m2 of completed installations and that figure just recently topped 15 000 m2 for all of 2018.

As in all areas of the shared energy transition, collaboration is clearly the engine that makes the project work. Whether it is matching urban needs and rural resources, lining up mutual goals between levels of government, or in this case, collaboration between the public and private sectors.

How does Solarclick work?

The public institution (care home, school, recreation centre, etc.) guarantees to the Region that they will have access to the roof. It is the region that owns the installation and takes care of financing, maintenance and decommissioning. The regional government benefits from the Green Certificates that are generated by the installation for ten years. The benefits are also clear for the roof owner: free electricity generated over ten years. If there isn’t enough to meet their needs, they maintain access to the grid. But if the installation generates more than they can use, they inject the surplus back into the grid. Meanwhile, Sibelga is in charge of the identification of the best possible locations and the installation of the PV arrays.

Like most cities, Brussels lacks abundant natural resources. But this collaboration shows that by working together, it is possible to maximise what is available and double the amount of renewable energy generated in the city in just three short years!

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©photo: Sibelga


Publication date

January 31, 2019