Pilot Project: Solar Modules with Energy Storage at The School of the Future in Belgium

The School of the Future
In the middle of August 2014,  the ‘School of the Future’  put into service a new photovoltaic installation combined with a battery storage system. It is a pilot project, the first time that such an installation has been placed in the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg).  The School of the Future is a building in Izegem, Belgium where schools, architects and engineers can find inspiration on modern school-building and can discover the latest techniques. For the project, the ‘School of the Future’ teamed up with Cleantec Trade, which distributes solar panels and the storage systems.

“Such an energy storage and distribution system can offer a great value, certainly for schools”, says Bert Dekeyzer of npo iD, the organization behind the School of the Future. “During weekends a school consumes almost no electricity. The energy produced by the solar panels is stored in the batteries. On Monday morning there is a peak consumption: then all the computers and machines are turned on, which requires quite a lot of electricity. If the solar panels supply too little at that time, the batteries can provide the remaining energy. Moreover, a study showed that the energy consumption of a school does not stop after four o’clock in the afternoon. Schools are increasingly used in the evening for sports activities and evening classes. Also in this situation, the batteries can play their part.”
In addition to an optimal and economic usage of solar power, the system can provide a solution for a possible power shortage in Belgium. Because of problems with the Belgian nuclear power plants, various municipalities could get disconnected from the electricity grid. In case of a power disruption, a traditional solar installation does not work anymore. The inverter of a traditional system switches off automatically because of a power failure. The owners of solar modules also have no electricity at that time, and in addition they suffer losses of the power output and any feed-in tariffs from their solar panels during the outage. The storage system provides a solution. Such an installation combines solar modules with battery storage and intelligent software: if the grid fails, the system provides uninterrupted power for the user from the solar modules and/or batteries. It is a reliable, safe and environment-friendly alternative to emergency generators.
“This is an interesting test case. We are curious about the results”, says Wouter Vermeersch (Cleantec Trade). “The solar panels disregarded, with this system an average family can meet its electricity needs for more than one day during a power failure. The solar panels will obviously make sure that a longer period can be bridged.”
About Cleantec Trade 
Cleantec Trade, with offices in both Belgium and Hong Kong, is one of the largest and fastest growing solar importers in the Benelux. After 3 years of operation, the company can show a strong and financially healthy track record; with more than 55 MW of import experience. By pooling volumes of its customers, the excellent contacts and partnerships with producers and its cost-efficient organisation, the company offers competitive conditions for several A-brands of Asian solar modules. For more information, please visit www(dot)cleantectrade(dot)com.
About School of the Future 
School of the Future is an organization, which wants, by working for and through education, to prepare the education for the challenges of the future. The creation of an up-to-date learning environment with affordable, innovative solutions is one of its realizations. The organization also supports the education in setting up projects and grant applications on internationalization, entrepreneurship, partnerships, sustainability, training, etc.
Photo: The photo is of the West Flanders UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bruegge.  (Izegem is also in West Flanders). Photo credit: “Bruegge huidenvettersplein“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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