Investor relations

Construction of West Flanders' largest solar park starts


OSTEND, 17 June 2024 - At Ostend-Bruges airport this morning, mayor Bart Tommelein symbolically fired the starting shot for the construction of West Flanders' largest solar park. Also the second largest in our country. Energy company EnergyVision will install a total of 60,000 solar panels next to the landing strip in the next few months, which will provide the airport and Ostend families with their first green electricity from September. By spring 2026, all solar panels will be installed and connected and a total of 10,000 families will be able to get 'green power from 't zeetje'. What is special is that the people of Ostend can also earn a little money from the project by co-investing through citizen participation.

Just when the solar panel sector is experiencing a crisis year in Belgium and our neighbouring countries, EnergyVision is firmly pushing the accelerator. Over the next two years, the energy company plans many dozens of megawatts of solar panels. Almost 37 MWp is already planned at Ostend-Bruges Airport. There, EnergyVision will build West Flanders' largest solar park in the next few months, accounting for a total area of 303,864 square metres, or more than 60 football fields large. The production of solar energy there means savings of a good 10,100 tonnes of CO2 on an annual basis. 

"Construction of the solar park at our airport site has just started. By spring 2026, when all the solar panels are installed and connected, over 37,000 MWh of electricity will be produced annually. The energy generated will initially be used to supply electricity to the entire airport site. This project will allow the airport to operate on 100% green electricity. This is an important step in our goal of emitting 30% less CO2 by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050. The remaining electricity goes to as many as 10,000 families in our immediate area. For us, it is absolutely important to also let our neighbours benefit from power from our own region. If all goes well, the first families will be able to enjoy green electricity as early as of September. In autumn, enough solar panels will therefore be operational at the airport to generate 10 MWp of power already." Eric Dumas, CEO of Ostend-Bruges Airport.


The location of the new solar park is already ideal, according to EnergyVision. Most of the land along the runway is unusable for other things, and on the coast you can benefit from the best solar radiation in the country. For example, higher wind speeds at the coast mean less cloud cover, and thus more sunshine hours. The 'irradiance' - the amount of solar energy reaching the earth's surface - is therefore about 10 per cent higher than in, say, Limburg.

There is currently only limited connection capacity available for solar parks in West Flanders, but the power company has provided a solution thanks to a smart configuration.

"Until Ventilus gets there, there are limited connection options to the grid, but through large, high-performance batteries we are fitting a sleeve into that. Thanks to a large-scale battery capacity, we ensure that we can install more solar panels than the current connection capacity could currently handle. So overproduction is stored temporarily in the batteries without any problems. When the sun no longer shines, this stored energy is then fed into the grid and distributed to customers. In other words, even if the sun does not shine for a while, people from Ostend can still enjoy solar energy." Maarten Michielssens, CEO of EnergyVision

Citizen participation

The project at the airport will not only provide a substantial greener electricity supply in Ostend. Locals will also have the opportunity to earn a little money themselves. Via, families can not only register to buy generated electricity at fixed prices, they can also choose to co-invest. 

"Specifically, we have launched a platform for citizen participation. That simply means that if locals would like to co-invest in the installation, they can. And that in the form of an eight-year loan with a gross interest rate of 5% before withholding tax. With a minimum deposit of 250 euros, we are ensuring that the widest possible audience can make a piece of their savings pay off in an alternative and conscious way. With this initiative, we hope to make low-cost, green, local electricity a lot more accessible and achievable for everyone again." Maarten Michielssens, CEO of EnergyVision

Taking the lead

Ostend Mayor Bart Tommelein welcomed the project and symbolically kicked off the construction of the solar park this morning. 

"It is no coincidence that the largest solar farm in West Flanders, and immediately the largest in our country in recent years, is being built in Ostend. Our city has been taking the lead in the much-needed transition to sustainable energy for years. Among other things, we are the offshore wind hub of the southern part of the North Sea and the Princess Elisabeth energy island - the very first artificial energy island in the world - will soon be built off our coast. What is unique about this project at the airport is that the people of Ostend will be able to enjoy it directly and be part of a sustainable story. If we want to make the energy transition a success, we need to involve citizens as much as possible and give them the opportunity to help pull the cart." Bart Tommelein, mayor of Ostend

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