Flemish Minister of Housing installs 30,000th ASTER solar panel


EnergyVision, together with Flemish Minister of Housing Matthias Diependaele, installs the 30,000th solar panel on a social housing unit in Oudenaarde, Flanders. Following the launch last autumn in Roeselare of ASTER's project to equip 52,500 social housing units in Flanders with solar panels, minister Matthias Diependaele is taking stock of this unique project.

In the next few weeks, 48 social housing units in Oudenaarde will receive a total of 477 solar panels on their roofs, accounting for 195.57 kWp.

Stefaan Vercamer, chairman of Housing Company Flemish Ardennes: "We think it is important to install solar panels. On the one hand, we highly value sustainability within our housing company, on the other hand, we offer affordable energy to our tenants, thus helping to fight energy poverty."

Director Jeanique Van Den Heede adds: "It is very interesting for us to work with ASTER to install the solar panels. ASTER makes it possible to cooperate with the sector on Flanders' climate ambitions in this way."

Evaluation after 30,000 panels

Special about this installation in the Den Bulk district is that this marks the 30,000th ASTER panel. Flemish Minister of Housing Matthias Diependaele is taking the opportunity to draw the first conclusions of the largest residential solar panel project in Flanders.

Over a period of four years, some 395,000 solar panels with a total capacity of 152 MWp will be installed on homes owned by social landlords. These panels will generate more than 130 GWh of green Flemish electricity on an annual basis.

To date, 2,613 installations have been built, accounting for an installed kWp of up to 13,649.53. These ASTER panels already produced 1.87 GWh of solar power, equivalent to a CO2 reduction of 509.5 tonnes.

1337 installations are planned or signed up for the next period. This means 15,948 more panels will be installed, producing 6534.99 kWp of power.

All in all, this brings ASTER, after a little more than half a year, to a 4,000-installation figure, containing just under 50,000 panels, reaching a combined output of 20,184.52 kWp.

"These are of course spectacular figures," says general manager Sven Van Elst. "Right now, in terms of the number of installations, we are at a third of what we planned to achieve in 2023. In terms of capacity, we are already almost at half. So things are going well, but in view of the number of installations, it is important that we can schedule more soon among ASTER's members - the residential companies."

Minister Matthias Diependaele says: "ASTER is a wonderful project that really makes a difference for social housing tenants. I hope that as many housing companies as possible will follow its example. The first analysis of ASTER is clearly positive. It is now a matter of shifting up a gear."

There is no denying ASTER's impact on Flanders' climate ambitions.

"Activating this solar potential is good for an estimated CO2 reduction of around 35,000 tonnes a year. This is how we as a sector are helping to achieve the 2050 Climate Goals for all Flemish people," says general director Sven Van Elst.

"We continue to scale up our operations to provide solar energy to as many families as possible, as soon as possible," says Maarten Michielssens, CEO of EnergyVision. "This is good for the climate, energy poverty and employment. As a company, we find that very important."

This is ASTER

"Today's inauguration in the Den Bulk neighbourhood of the Flemish Ardennes Housing Company in Oudenaarde is an important new step going forward with our partners, the Flemish Government, the social housing and housing companies and, of course, EnergyVision and Belfius Bank," says ASTER chairman Etienne Audenaert.

Following ASTER's establishment in October 2020, the contract award to EnergyVision and the signing of the financing agreement with Belfius Bank in July 2022, the 30,000th solar panel in Oudenaarde is the next major milestone in the organisation's ambitions. Through ASTER, the social housing sector is investing in solar panels on as many social housing units as possible.

The residents of social housing with ASTER solar panels, both protected and non-protected customers, pay a rate that is about 25% lower than the social rate or the market rate when the sun shines. The Flemish government determines the rates, ensuring that the solar electricity consumed at the same time is the cheapest electricity for the social tenants. Tenants pay the social landlord - who owns the generated electricity - only for the solar electricity they consume when the sun shines. There are no additional costs for the tenants.

The electricity that is not consumed is sold by the social housing companies and housing associations to The proceeds flow entirely back to the social landlords and social tenants who do not have direct access to solar energy. The proceeds can also be used for other sustainability initiatives of the social landlords.