EnergyVision: 'Our company has been all about people since its inception, with a focus on ESG'

In the highly competitive energy sector, EnergyVision has become an established player within less than a decade. ‘We want to help people join the energy transition who could not have done so on their own,’ states CEO Maarten Michielssens.

A solar array at Ostend airport, 700 new charging stations in Brussels and a major tender for the Flemish social housing sector are just some of the projects that have made headlines for EnergyVision over the last year. The company is growing fast and it seems the sky is the limit. ‘We’re seeing the benefits of our unwavering mission of making renewable energy accessible to the widest possible target group,’ says CEO Maarten Michielssens.

‘But make no mistake, we’ve made just about every error possible and suffered our share of growing pains over the past nine years. The solar panel and charging station sector is still new, and there were some cowboys operating in the beginning. We’ve worked hard to get where we are now. We’ve ran into a few walls, but we’ve learnt from our mistakes and gone on to do better afterwards.’ Thanks to perseverance and a bit of luck, the startup has grown into a business worth millions.

A deliberate decision for strong governance

There’s more to success than luck, of course. EnergyVision’s clear vision and a strategy based on sustainable principles contributed to its achievements. Maarten Michielssens makes it clear: ‘We’ve been an ESG company since day one, even if we didn’t call it that. We took this approach by virtue of our products and services, certainly, but also through our focus on people. Our articles of association literally state that we give opportunities to disadvantaged groups. We make additional efforts to help refugees, new arrivals and ex-prisoners find jobs. We feel it’s our duty to help people who want to build a new life.’

We wanted to prove that our startup took this seriously, with a strong Board of Directors and a high level of transparency

Maarten Michielssens - CEO EnergyVision

Michielssens and his co-founders also treated governance with the seriousness it deserves, including independent directors on its board from the outset. These currently include former minister Karel De Gucht, former EU president Herman Van Rompuy, Sophie Manigart of the Vlerick Business School, and Pieter Bourgeois representing investor Marc Coucke. ‘We wanted to prove that our startup was taking things seriously, with a strong Board of Directors and a high level of transparency thanks to consolidated reports and the appointment of a company auditor,’ explains the CEO.

Solar panels for social housing

Last summer, EnergyVision won Flanders’ largest solar panel project to date: a tender from housing cooperative Aster to install solar panels on 50 000 social housing units. ‘This is a great project and a win-win for all involved,’ according to Michielssens. ‘Normally, social housing tenants can’t install solar panels as they aren’t the owners, but by working with Aster we’re able provide them with green energy at a price lower than the social rate. The government also benefits because we don’t require subsidies to operate, which means it doesn’t have to provide funding for the social rate.’

For Miet Danckaert, Relationship Manager at KBC Commercial Banking, this is further proof of the inspiring business acumen behind EnergyVision: ‘As a start-up, they have accomplished their goals and vision step by step, developing into a fully fledged energy company with ESG values at its core. Their focus on the energy transition means they are continuously working to reduce carbon emissions, while also paying special attention to the social aspect. The Aster project making green energy accessible to social tenants serves as an excellent illustration of that.’

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KBC Commercial Banking: your partner in more sustainable business practices

If, like EnergyVision, you too want to go down the path of doing business more sustainably, KBC Commercial Banking has just the tool to guide you: the ‘Sustainability’ app in your KBC Business Dashboard.

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