Information published on 16 May 2017 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 548.

Belgium: SNCB fits three of its buildings out with 1,886 photovoltaic solar panels

SNCB has just installed three sets of photovoltaic solar panels at its premises in Schaerbeek. Supplied by Orka, the 1,886 panels will enable SNCB to produce 500,000 kWh of electricity every year, as much as is used by around 140 households.

For the project, SNCB concluded a public-private partnership for the installation of solar panels on the roofs of three buildings close to Schaerbeek station: the “Train World” museum, a train maintenance depot, and an office building. With a total generating power of 518 kWp, the new equipment will increase the number of photovoltaic roof panels on SNCB buildings fourfold.

Choosing a third-party investor (via a competitive public tender) will thus boost the share of SNCB’s daily energy consumption which comes from renewables. SNCB has given Orka the right to use the three buildings’ roofs for a period of 10 years. For its part, Orka bore the investment cost and will operate and maintain the three sets of panels, in return for which the company will receive green certificates. SNCB will benefit from sustainable electricity at competitive rates, and will eventually become the owner of the installation in 10 years’ time. At that point, the panels should have another 10 to 15 years of generating lifespan left in them.

Most of the power produced by the 1,886 panels will be used in situ by the three buildings. Should the panels produce more electricity than the buildings need, the surplus will be fed back into the grid and be used to cover other railway needs, e.g. Brussels Nord or Brussels Central stations.

Finally, in order to further boost the proportion of renewables in the railways’ energy mix, SNCB is set to issue another tender for photovoltaic panels, this time for the roof of the Forest train maintenance depot. This public tender will be for the installation of 1000 kWp of rooftop generating power, around double the capacity available at Schaerbeek.

(Source: SNCB)