The leadership for the installation of the PVs moved from the City of Antwerp to Ecopower. Eventually, after challenging public procurement and identification of locations to install them (see Journal 3), in the very last months of the project, PVs (Photovoltaics) and BIPVs (Building-integrated photovoltaics) were purchased and implemented in 4 locations, in Antwerp South and beyond, as presented in the table below.
Installation of a newly built building: Building 17 (45kWp)
Heat plant (15kWp)
Remainder of the city
Hof ter Beke/Care home (60 kWp)
Groothandelsmarkt/wholesalemarket (500 kWp)
Such a diversity of (BI)PVs enabled experimenting different technical and practical aspects. The first installation, on Building 17, tested the installation of PVs on newly built building.
The installation of BIPVs on the heat plant in Antwerp South, could test tailored colours and prints – enabling better fit in the architecture of the building with optimal solar caption.
On the top of the Hof ter Beke/Care home, the limiting effects of partial shading because of west solar orientation were prevented with the installation of optimisers.
Major learnings for the installation of PVs and BIPVs
It is crucial to include the planned installation of PVs and BIPVs in a building from the beginning of the design of the building:
Batteries were eventually not installed during the project, because of the little time remaining to finalise the project and the need to prioritise the last activities. Also, no site/owner could be identified who would agree to host them. Another major reason was that the consumption in the buildings on which solar panels were installed left very little excess energy that could be stored. Simulations with participants' data and battery model were used as a replacement of real batteries. The simulator appeared to be very useful to model consumption and identify who would benefit to use storage or not make any difference.
Major learnings for the installation of batteries
The technology is still new and the need for actually storing extra energy can be quite limiting. New projects should envisage the added value of such batteries (especially if a simulator can also be used instead).
By the end of the project, and because of the repetitive lock downs and restrictive measures, 61 smart meters were installed. As the supplier of the meters stopped activities, they have not been used since 31 March 2022.
Major learnings for the installation of smart meters
The added value for using smart meters to monitor energy consumption has been proven in this project. Yet, the main question remains as to connecting the meters with the data managers/owners (in this case, after the contract). Ensuring transfer of data/suppliers should be key to enable continuation of such monitoring. This could be done by the installation of smart meters in all newly built flats.