The members of the SunSud Committee, a project initiated by the Foyer du Sud public service real estate company, unveiled the results of a year of solar energy sharing in social housing in Saint-Gilles on Wednesday at the town hall.
The project was led by a group of tenants, accompanied by the Energie Commune and City Mine(d) associations, and supported by Brussels Environment as well as the municipality of Saint-Gilles.
It entailed the installation of 106 solar panels on the roof of a building at 22, 24 and 26 Volgaert Street, covering an area of 195 square metres. The electricity produced by the panels is mainly used in “common areas” (lift, hall lighting) and in 22 dwellings taking part in the project. Energy not used on site is redistributed to the public grid.
Energy Minister Alain Maron, Secretary of State for Housing Nawal Ben Hamou and Saint-Gilles Mayor Jean Spinette, all addressed the gathering.
“This is a project that reflects what we want in our neighbourhoods,” the mayor said.
A 15% cut in electricity bills
“We must continue in the direction of this energy-sharing project. We have to end our dependence on fossil fuels,” Minister Maron stressed. “The energy future of Belgium and Europe depends on renewable energy. For that, we need to produce locally.”
The project’s ” green” electricity made up 40% of the consumption of the building’s common areas in 2022. This translated into €4000 of savings on charges, €40 per tenant. On average, participants observed a 15% saving on their electricity bill.
“Tenants can be actors of change,” said Nawal Ben Hamou. “I hope this will encourage other tenants to embark on similar projects,” she continued.
The Secretary of State announced that a call for projects to install photovoltaic panels has been launched in collaboration with the Brussels-Capital Region Housing Society.
A total of 9,500 housing units could benefit from this, she said.