7th June 2021

The performance of a solar park in the south of the country

Photovoltaic panels have been installed on the roof of a covered carport at the House of BioHealth in Esch. They are connected directly to the grid and thus generate the equivalent electricity needed to power 93 households for an entire year. Did you know that this is the first facility of its kind in Luxembourg?

Launched at the end of 2019 and inaugurated in January 2021, the "BioHealth Carport" has been a major success for the city of Esch. This is the type of project that demonstrates just how important collaboration between multiple stakeholders is for a successful ecological transition in Luxembourg. On one side, we have the entrepreneurs and investors (individuals or corporate entities) who offer their ideas and capital and, on the other, the financial institutions that help them bring their projects to life by providing the necessary funding.


Esch’s most efficient solar park consists of:

868 Solar panels
868 Solar panels
installed on the carport’s roof.
287  Kilowatts
287 Kilowatts
of power.
460 Parking spaces
460 Parking spaces
and 600 additional spaces that can still be built.

The power produced by this plant represents the equivalent of:

The electricity needed for 93 homes for one year.

1,2 million km driven by electric cars each year.


A joint project between Sudstroum and Enerdeal

Enerdeal was founded in 2009 and specialises in building, operating and financing industrial-scale solar power plants (minimum of 2.000 m² of ground-mounted roofing or 200 kW in solar terms). Two hundred solar projects have already been completed; for half these projects, customers wanted to purchase or finance the project themselves, while customers for the other half preferred a third-party financing solution.

Enerdeal’s customers are industrials or property owners who wish to strengthen their ESG commitments. As the environment has become the main reason that companies seek out Enerdeal today, it develops solutions that are tailor-made to suit their business and their environmental goals.

To bring the "BioHealth Carport" project to life, Enerdeal and Sudstroum created a 50/50 joint venture called Sudsolar Energy Invest II Sàrl. They therefore share equally in the work, opportunities and risks. Together, they come up with and implement the best solutions and seek appropriate financing.

Five questions for

François Neu

Founder of Enerdeal

 

Claude Sadeler

Corporate & Project Finance Advisor

Torsten Schockmel

CAO & CFO of Sudstroum

1. You inaugurated the BioHealth carport in Esch at the beginning of the year. Describe the project for us.

The main idea behind the BioHealth carport project was to integrate solar and electromobility into the car park. Because of the solar panels installed on its roof, 

François Neu, Founder of Enerdeal

the carport now has enough capacity to power itself and also generate renewable energy for the charging stations that will be provided for the electric vehicles parked there.

Rather than charge their vehicles at home at night, carport users can use the stations to charge their vehicles during the day, for example.

Claude Sadeler, Corporate & Project Finance Advisor

2. Who initiated the project?

The initiators of the "BioHealth Carport" were the carport’s owners/developers, who from the very beginning wanted to make it a green car park powered by solar energy. The infrastructure needed to install solar panels was

therefore taken into account and then included in the building permit for the carport. This project was therefore a purely private initiative.

It generally works the other way around: on the one hand, you have a commercial approach on our side and on the other, you have the public authorities (government, municipalities, etc.) that help promote the various projects. We should also note that the BioHealth carport has inspired some ideas that will give rise to other similar projects in the near future.

Torsten Schockmel, CAO & CFO de Sudstroum

3. What challenges did you face with this project?

With solar-related projects, the main challenges that we might generally face are:

  • Surface area: Ground and rooftop areas of at least 2.000 m² are preferable in terms of profitability in solar. They must also be suitable for this type of development and be surfaces that are impervious or already-built up but with rooftop potential, so that these areas can be put to use to generate green energy.

  • Shade: The amount of shade/sunshine associated with the panels’ exposure plays a role in their performance and unfortunately we have no influence over the sun. In recent years, sunshine levels have always been higher than forecast, which in some ways works to our benefit.

  • Infrastructure: Depending on the building to be fitted with solar panels, the power connection must be checked. If the capacity is insufficient, for example, we have to work closely with the grid operator to increase it.

    For the BioHealth carport, we had the surface area we needed, and the infrastructure anticipated during construction was adapted from the outset to ensure that the project could be properly completed. In addition, solar does not create any disruptions and there are very few arguments against it, which is why we had no constraints on that front.

    We will soon be pointed out if we do nothing.

    The BioHealth carport is laid out in half-storeys, which is why only half the car park currently has solar panels. Shade is a factor that could, in the case of half-storeys, reduce the effectiveness of the panels. For now, we have therefore developed only half the surface area and, 

    in the second phase, another storey will certainly be added and fitted with solar panels.

    As with all types of projects, there are of course constraints, but they are all generally resolved and the projects are successful.

    4. What do you think makes companies turn to solar?

    Several trends are raising more and more customers’ awareness that it is time to do something. This can be summarised as four key criteria:

    Image

    Companies can no longer really afford not to incorporate ecological criteria into their objectives; they need to lead by example.

    Investment costs

    Investment in solar has decreased sharply and the level of subsidies is lower than with other technologies.

    Taxation

    Tax-related constraints on tonnes of CO2 continue to increase.

    ESG

    Producing local green energy and offering green services (charging stations at the workplace) to company employees are solutions that businesses can adopt.

    But they are not the only criteria. Some companies are aware that their unused open spaces have potential and are therefore quite naturally turning to solutions that use these spaces for solar and thus contribute to the climate criteria.

    Any company or industrial that has ground-mounted roofing or an unbuildable area of at least 2.000 m² can fit it with solar panels.

    5. And after solar?

    There are no rare earths, no heavy metals and no serious pollutants in a solar panel, and 90% to 95% of its composition can be dismantled and recycled.

    The lifespan of a solar panel is currently at least 25 years and

    even after this period the panel continues to work and is still at 85% of its capacity. That is enough for us to infer that solar is timeless, as long as there is sun!

    Luxembourg has 300 hectares of available car parks and sealed surfaces suitable for solar panels.

    In terms of our offerings, given the growing need for renewable energy, we are evolving and incorporating additional infrastructure into our solutions, including charging stations for electric vehicles.

    Some customers contact us to incorporate solar into their car parks and generate renewable energy, but then don’t want to handle the management side. So we work to offer comprehensive customised solutions that range from simple execution of the solar installation to third-party financing/leasing.

    Spuerkeess’s support for this project

    As a national bank and given its commitment to the country’s ecological development, Spuerkeess supports customer projects that aim to contribute to a better climate.

    Interview with Max Zuccoli, Public Sector relationship manger in Spuerkeess’s Corporate Banking department, to learn how this project unfolded.

    1. When were your first discussions with your customer?

    The first discussions were held in March 2020 through Sudstroum’s representative, namely Mr Schockmel, who told us about the collaboration with Enerdeal on various photovoltaic panel installation projects through the newly created Sudsolar Energy Invest II Sàrl company.

    The BioHealth project was actually presented to us in mid-June 2020 by Sudsolar’s representatives. This first presentation mainly outlined the national renewable energy objective set by the Luxembourg government for 2020, as well as its technical implementation.

    Max Zuccoli, Public Sector relationship manger in Spuerkeess’s Corporate Banking department

    2. What was your involvement in this project?

    Because of its industrial scale (286 KWc), the BioHealth project was financed by mixed equity and debt funding taking a project finance approach, that is, based only on the cash flows generated by the project’s energy yield using a profitability calculation for a 15-year horizon.

    The European website commonly used to calculate amounts of sun by location served as a reference, and cash flows were calculated based on reliable and transparent data resulting from Enerdeal’s many years of experience in planning, building and managing industrial-scale solar power plants.

    Finalising the BioHealth project’s financing needs required frequent contact to reach an agreement on Spuerkeess’s financing shortly after the project was first presented.

    3. What value-added do you bring to the customer?

    Because an agreement was quickly reached on Spuerkeess’s financing, Sudsolar was able to confidently plan the execution and construction of the photovoltaic system for the covered carport project at the House of BioHealth in Esch.

    A sustainable project that meets Spuerkeess’s ESG targets

    One last question for Philippe Hennes, Corporate Banking – Team Manager:

    So is climate at the heart of the bank’s ESG strategy?

    Absolutely! For years, Spuerkeess has continued to pursue a policy of promoting sustainable and renewable forms of energy – both inside and outside our bank. In October 2019, Spuerkeess thus became the first bank in the Luxembourg financial centre to sign on to the "UN Principles for Responsible Banking". In this document, we pledge to make our contribution to meeting the UN’s sustainable development goals and those of the Paris Climate Agreement.


    Those of us in the Corporate Banking department are very proud to be available to advise Sudsolar Energy Invest II Sàrl and support the development of its projects in the energy transition sector.