Belgian football club KV Oostende has teamed up with Zero Emission Solutions to launch a crowdfunding programme that will enable the installation of a range of solar panels at Versluys Arena.

It is hoped the initiative will transform the Versluys Arena into the first CO2-neutral football stadium in Belgium. The club plans on placing 1036 solar panels on the stadium’s roof, which would generate 323,000kWh of energy per year – enough to supply “a few hundred” families per year.

The club has invited fans and other interested parties to invest in the crowdfunding programme, which it says will deliver a long-term return on investment.

The club plans on placing 741 solar panels in the main grandstand area of the Versluys Arena this summer, with 295 to be fitted in the C grandstand. KV Oostende will also install a further 160 solar panels at its new training complex. The panels will be fitted by solar energy firm Advenso.

The KVOlt cooperative – a joint project between the club and Zero Emission Solutions – will operate the installation for 20 years and sell the power to the club at a reduced rate. The installation will then become the property of the stadium owner free of charge.

Shares in the cooperative will cost €100 (£86/$112) and give entitlement to a tax reduction of 45 per cent from five shares. An annual dividend of three per cent is expected per share.

The solar panels that are being fitted at the stadium will have a lifespan of at least 30 years.

Patrick Orlans, chief executive of KV Oostende, said: “As a sports club we get a lot from society, so it is normal that we also try to give something back to society. It ensures a lower energy bill for the club and an investment with a certain return for the fans and the people who join it. In the long term this is a win-win situation.”

Image: KV Oostende