Citizen power brings renewable energy to Leuven

Ten public buildings in the Belgian city will be fitted with solar panels, saving 180 tons of CO2 a year

A large renewable project has been launched by a Belgian energy co-op in the Flemish city Leuven.

The local authority says it is one of the biggest co-op renewable projects in the city. The city has partnered with two local co-ops to supply clean energy to 10 public buildings. Residents can make a contribution and share any profit by investing in joint ownership of the solar installations.

The Leuven2030 project has already put a solar installation on the roof of the Girafant daycare centre, where 330 solar panels will provide the nursery at the Philips site with 98,000 kWh per year, comparable to the annual consumption of 28 families.

And on the Genadedal community centre, a solar installation of 37 panels has been put in place which generates annual electricity of 11,500 kWh.

“Currently, only 11 GWh of electricity per year is produced via solar energy in Leuven, while the possibilities for electricity via solar panels are estimated at just over 400 GWh. So, there is still more than 97% of unused potential. Solar energy has to go up considerably if we want to become climate neutral as a city,” said the alderman of climate and sustainability David Dessers.

Eight more public buildings will be fitted with solar panels by the end of the year and will generate a total of 740,000 kWh per year – the equivalent of 200 Leuven households.

Leuven2030 says the project will save an estimatee 180 tons of CO2 annually. The total investment is estimated at 650,000 euros.

Energy co-ops ECoOB and Ecopower have so far raised 340,500 euros at 250 euros per share and want to involve 100 more Leuven residents in the project.