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Monday | 14 June, 2010 | 2:12 am

Raise the solar-powered roof

By Meghan Siroky

June 2010- Belgian manufacturer, LVD Co. nv, Gullegem, Belgium, has bumped a green energy initiative to the top of its to-do list and, as a result, has been reaping the benefits.

LVD recently installed solar electrical cells on two of its facilities' rooftops, covering 16,500 square meters. As part of a 20-year contract with Enfinity Corp., Waregem, Belgium, LVD plans to reduce its carbon footprint and explore future opportunities for eco-friendly initiatives.

Matthew Fowles, group marketing manager for LVD, says using solar energy provides multiple benefits for the company, including increasing environmental awareness and reducing costs.

"One of the major benefits is that we have reduced our dependency upon traditional power generation," Fowles says.

According to a press release, LVD plans to generate up to 15 percent of its annual electricity consumption in renewable solar energy, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by up to 5.5 million kilograms over the next 20 years. Fowles says LVD is participating in this initiative by doing its part "to reduce the overall CO2 emissions that the EU is committing to."

Save some green
Fowles says the cost of oil and gas is something a lot of countries are trying to address, and the Belgian government offered financial incentives to invest in green energy. This played a factor in the decision to install solar rooftops.

"Our power that we generate using the solar panels is a lower cost than buying traditional power, but secondly, we receive a financial reward for putting power back into the grid," Fowles says.

The solar units on the roof channel energy down into the factory as part of the internal LVD power grid. A mechanism in place enables that feed to travel back into the national grid system on weekends and holidays.

"With a power generation capacity of just under 700 kWp, LVD is not only able to reduce its own power consumption from the national grid but it is also able to provide green power back to the grid during weekends and during holidays," according to the press release.

"In simple terms, it means you can measure the flow back the other way," Fowles says. As a result, the amount of power generated by LVD back into the national grid is measured.

Future endeavors
LVD is hopeful about its partnership with Enfinity. This company will provide a complete turnkey solution for renewable energy generation including all equipment, installation, configuration, maintenance and management of the system, according to the press release.

"As a manufacturer ourselves, we want to make sure that we look at other types of technologies that are available to enable us to reduce dependency upon traditional energy generation methods," Fowles says. He is optimistic about the Enfinity partnership and potential plans for future renewable energy endeavors.

"[Enfinity] is a market-leading company specializing in green energy generation. So we expect them, over that period of time and hopefully beyond that, to keep bringing new ideas to us and to the other people within Belgium that are participating within this scheme to use the up-and-coming green energy generation technology," Fowles says. "We all expect that there will be some movements forward in technology and maybe other methods in which green energy can be generated." MM

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