Ecological and economical: IZEN helps Belgian companies with sustainability and savings through industrial-scale solar energy

IZEN, the brand of VINCI Energies in Belgium that focuses on 100% smart energy, recently completed its third solar carport in Belgium. Together, the solar carports at UZ Brussel, Boortmalt and Westvlees total over 10,000 m² of solar panels, accounting for more than 2.5 million kWh in renewable energy.

All three projects were commissioned by Menapy, a Flemish green energy specialist that acts as an intermediary and financier for companies in Belgium, France, Spain and Italy, helping them switch to cheap and sustainable energy without major investment through its solar-as-a-service model.

Local champions

For the design, purchase of the materials and installation of the solar panels, Menapy, which was founded by a few solar veterans and Belgian investors, standardly issues a tender to find the best partner for each project. For the solar carports in Belgium, IZEN invariably came out on top.

Wherever we are active, we work with local champions. We always look for a combination of many different factors: engineering knowhow and expertise, safety, the necessary scale to deliver everything on time, both technically and administratively, and of course a competitive price. IZEN scored strongly on all aspects, and consistently delivered exceptional work,” explains Tom Pollyn, founder and general manager of Menapy. “Communication before, during and after the installation is crucial too – another area where IZEN managed to stand out.”

Quality, reliability and long-term vision

Solar installations, especially on an industrial scale, are particularly complex projects, where you are guaranteed to encounter unexpected obstacles. On moments like these, our twenty years of experience, expertise in the field and scale make the difference, which does not go unnoticed by customers. By going for quality, reliability and a clear long-term vision, but also by delivering on our promises, customers know they can wholeheartedly trust us with their projects, at very competitive prices. And so they keep coming back”, declares Jo Van Beek, sales project manager at IZEN.

Together, Menapy and IZEN have realized three solar carport projects in Belgium: for UZ Brussel, Westvlees and Boortmalt, always to the satisfaction of the end client. Although each project brought different challenges, IZEN every time managed to work out the best possible solution by looking at the specific circumstances on site.

Sven Hebbelinck, technical director UZ Brussel:Sustainability is one of the pillars of our policy. That is why, in 2018, we decided to install an additional 4,500 m² of solar panels on our roofs, in addition to those already in place. Afterwards, a solar carport was added, with facilities for charging stations. The circumstances, such as the proximity of a protected Natura 2000 area at less than 60 meters distance, and the fact the parking had to remain in use during construction, made the works a real challenge, but thanks to the clear communication, good planning and follow-up of IZEN everything went surprisingly smoothly and without significant difficulties.”

Anthony Van Eeckhout, head of People at Westvlees – Belgian Pork Group: “Our company has massive cooling needs. We have therefore been working on making our energy and water consumption more sustainable for years. As such, the solar carport fits perfectly within the Westvlees philosophy, and is also a real showpiece for our company – our thanks to IZEN for the beautiful work! The carport, by the way, does not just supply us with energy: the rainwater too is collected and purified to be used afterwards. Last but not least, for our employees, who work in a cool environment, it is a plus to find their car fully charged and pleasantly fresh in the evening.

In the Port of Antwerp, IZEN and Menapy also built a solar carport for Boortmalt, the largest malt group in the world. “We are a very energy intensive company and require huge amounts of heat and electricity to make malt”, says Joris Van Valckenborgh, group energy manager at Boortmalt. Because the company wants to halve its CO² emissions by 2030, it decided to opt for a solar carport. “Sixty charging stations have been installed for employees or visitors to charge their cars. Of course, the shelter also provides shade and coolness in summer.”