WDP 226

The largest single rooftop solar park in Europe is in WDPort of Ghent

written by Norbert Padt
Published on:
Future logisticsImpact by responsibility
Build-to-suitEnergyEnvironment & Sustainability

With the installation of the largest single rooftop solar park in Europe, WDP is once more taking a large step in its transition to green energy. More than 37,000 solar panels will appear on the roof of the logistics park WDPort of Ghent at the start of 2023. This megaproject will increase our solar energy power capacity by 25% overnight.”

To make the switch to renewable energy, WDP is looking upwards: to its own sky-high ambitions, but also and mainly to the sun. Solar panel energy is the key for its long-term energy transition that will receive a strong boost in the coming months. In the spring of 2023, a solar park of more than 150,000 m2 will be put into use on the roof of the Big Box project in WDPort of Ghent, a site in North Sea Port Ghent.

The ideal place

WDP did not choose the location in Port of Ghent by chance. The flourishing site in North Sea port is extremely interesting for logistics activity as it has multimodal access and. There is still sufficient affordable space to develop, which is not the case in many other logistics hotspots in Belgium.

A large sustainable project like WDPort of Ghent fits perfectly within our Energy & Sustainability plan”,

says Ruben Vandam, Sustainability Engineer at WDP.

In that respect this was the ideal place to install this gigantic solar park. The roof is divided into eight units that are leased to Exterioo and X2O Badkamers. Together these eight units form the biggest park on one single roof in Europe. Another important factor: there is a large demand for electricity nearby, with a few large users.”

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Producing more than we need

With a total capacity of 25 mega watt peak, the solar panels have the potential to supply electricity for 8,000 to 9,000 families. This means its utility scale will come close to that of giga ground-based installations. The sustainable warehouses themselves require little energy: only 10% of the electricity produced will go to the building itself. The remaining green energy will be injected into the grid: 

We will in fact produce a lot more than we need ourselves”, 

explains Vandam.

Most of it will go on the market. By doing so, we contribute to the local green electricity supply. It will be possible to switch off the installation on days of overproduction, to avoid negative pressure on the network.”

For WDP the new solar park is pioneering in a number of respects.

On an operational level this is a project of unprecedented proportions for WDP. Construction teams have been working on the structure and wiring since mid October in preparation for installation of the panels themselves. The first small installations will start operation in January and will supply the lessees with energy. When the other panels also become operational in the spring of 2023, we will have a total of 25 megawatt peak here.”

Aiming for 2250 megawatt peak in 2025

At the moment our total is just over 105 megawatt peak. This project represents a big step in the right direction as the ambitions of the WDP Energy & Sustainability team go much further. By 2025 we want to reach 250 megawatt peak”, 

according to Vandam.

We are fully aware that we are active in a sector with a significant environmental impact, but also that we have the tools ourselves to do something about it. With this step we want to demonstrate that we can really lead the way.”

In addition, this development also represents an opportunity for WDP: we’re going to expand the energy transition into a fully fledged business unit to give our customers even more help with their decarbonisation. Solar panels are a crucial link in this. With sustainable projects like this solar park, we want to give potential customers an extra reason to choose us”, 

says Vandam.

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