• Kristal Solar Park planned to come up in Kristal Park III in Lommel will enter construction in October 2018; earlier it was announced to break ground in September 2018
  • The project with 99 MW MW capacity will be built by Engie Fabricom with 300,000 solar panels
  • Initial electricity generated by the plant will be used by mining and metals business group Nyrstar; later as more companies base themselves at the business park, they’d be allowed to connect to a part of the solar park
  • Due to the competitive auction process carried out for the solar park, the project cost has come down by 34%

Construction on Kristal Solar Park in Belgium’s Flanders region is scheduled to begin on October 1, 2018. Previously, it was announced to start a little earlier – in September (see 100 MW PV Park In Belgium). It is scheduled to be completed within nine months and start generating power from the summer of 2019.

The capacity of the project announced back then was 100 MW. Now, the mega solar park is announced to have 99 MW capacity, and is slated to be the largest solar park in Benelux, a politico-economic union of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Rights to develop the project were granted through a competitive auction process. Out of 30 applications from over 10 countries, only six were shortlisted. It was finally awarded to Engie Group’s local engineering arm, Engie Fabricom, which will also maintain the park once it is commissioned. The contract for the construction of the park was signed on July 4, 2018.

The project will be located in Kristal Park III, a business park in the city of Lommel. It will be built using 300,000 solar panels, 2,200 km of cables, spanning an area as large as 200 football fields.

Once the park is operational, the initial electricity generation will be taken up by Nyrstar, an integrated mining and metals business for its operations. Eventually, companies that start working in the business park will get the opportunity to connect to a part of the solar power plant through ‘green sockets’. This will reduce the power consumed by Nyrstar in the long term and will be distributed amongst other entities onsite.

Investment company LRM is leading the project. A leasing company, ING Lease is responsible for financing of the park.

“The Kristal Solar Park will require no less than 34 % less support than first calculated. This proves that renewable energy is becoming more and more profitable, especially if international competition can play a role in this project. This first large solar park since the reform of the certification system in 2013, immediately becomes the largest in the entire Benelux. A project of this size can hopefully also inspire others to invest in solar energy in Flanders,” said Flemish Energy Minister Bart Tommelein.