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First floating solar park at Sibelco complete

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Floating PV, a solar park built on Sibelco’s ‘Schansheide’ sand quarry on the border of the Antwerp municipalities of Mol and Dessel in Belgium, has been completed.

Flemish Minister of Energy Zuhal Demir installed the last solar panel of Floating PV in Flanders.

The installation consists of 17,250 solar panels and will produce 7 Gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. This amount of electricity corresponds to the annual consumption of 2,000 households.

Sibelco will use the maximum amount of electricity at its local operations to produce a high-quality silica sand. The Limburg Investment Company LRM, Group Machiels, Luminus and Sibelco are the initiators of the project.

“Sibelco owns many large quarries thanks to its sand extraction activities. The ‘Schansheide’ quarry, for example, covers 70 hectares. Its location close to our operations makes the site perfectly suitable for a floating solar park. In 2017, we came together with our partners to design the project. The floating solar farm and our existing wind farm will provide renewable energy for 55% of the electricity needs of the operations in Dessel. The installation is further proof of our commitment to generating environmental value and making progress towards our 2025 sustainability targets”.

Bart Van Herck, operations & country manager of Sibelco in Belgium.

Construction started in March 2020 and has not been delayed despite the challenges of COVID-19. All technical connections will be completed later this month and the plant will produce its first green electricity in October 2020, exactly as planned.

“The floating solar park produces 7 GWh of green electricity annually. The fact that the installation will be operational in 2020 is a boost to the Flemish renewable energy targets. Finally, the solar panels are conveniently located. No new space is taken up and 80% of the electricity is consumed locally by the Sibelco plant. The Flemish Government wants to give full support to such projects. Floating PV will also carry out measurements and share its results with the Flemish Energy Agency”.

Flemish Energy Minister Zuhal Demir.

“Initiatives such as these help the province to achieve its climate neutrality objectives. This floating solar park makes optimal and multifunctional use of the possibilities that ponds like this offer for nature, but also for the generation of renewable and sustainable energy. Its added value and importance cannot be overestimated”.

Cathy Berx, governor of Antwerp.
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