DAIKIN Europe N.V. is adding to its green energy arsenal with the installation of 1,932 solar panels at its Ostend plant.
Daikin says that the solar panels will produce approximately 400,000 kW per year (the equivalent consumption of 115 households) and be operational by the end of August 2011. The energy generated will help power the company's on-site operations.
The company had considered solar panels five years ago, but wanted to wait to install the best available technology. At the time Daikin decided to purchase green electricity on the market to reduce its environmental footprint, which resulted in a drastic reduction of CO2
emissions. However, solar panel efficiency has improved in the meantime, and the decision to install panels was examined again and approved in 2010.
The panels are located on the roofs of the DLC and Piping buildings at the Daikin Europe N.V. Ostend site. To highlight the effort and increase environmental awareness, the performance of the installation will be visible via screens in the factory and reception area. Real time data includes daily energy production, CO2
saved, and comparisons with previous periods.
The choice for solar panels was taken after considering other solutions including wind turbines. The 400,000 kW per year capacity was dictated by limitations in the region's electricity grid due to the high number of renewable systems already in place. The installation will result in a yearly savings of up to 160 tonnes of CO2
Work began at the end of April 2011 and the system will be operational by the end of August. Minimum life of the installation is 20 years, but actual life is expected to be 30-40 years.