Collective power through solar panels
The Flemish cities Ghent and Mechelen organize several demonstration projects on collective renewable energy. In Ghent the project Buurzame Stroom about collective solar panels in several neighborhoods ran until January 2020. In Mechelen, a project about collective renewable energy for vulnerable families in collaboration with social housing companies is running.
Buurzame Stroom was a bottom-up project, driven by a strong partnership between 2 citizen cooperatives Partago and EnerGent, the Flemish grid operator Fluvius, the city of Ghent and its OSS Energiecentrale, energy provider Ecopower, an NGO Samenlevingsopbouw Gent, and the University of Gent. One of the goals was to install as many solar panels as possible. More than 2500 panel were placed on schools, private homes, apartments, rental homes, and office buildings. Another goal was to specifically focus on vulnerable people (language barrier, limited funds). About 100 panels were installed for them. The final goal was to find solutions to prevent grid overload. Some solutions were digital meters, electric ride sharing, home/company batteries, solar sharing, energy communities, heat pumps, etc. Find the final report in Dutch here.
renewable energy for vulnerable families
Collective solar panels are not popular yet in the social housing market in Mechelen. The social housing companies play a vital role in this project. The goal is to install solar panels in 400 homes (1GwH) owned by a social housing company. These collective solar panels will be installed by following these steps: information collection on state of the art, pre-selection of social housing company, pre-selection of neighborhoods, technical analysis of neighborhoods, develop legal and financial architecture for collective solar panels, inform and motivate inhabitants, public procurement to install panels, installation, monitor and evaluate.