Belgium: Flanders sees new PV installations almost double so far this year

The Flemish-speaking region of Flanders saw the number of new PV installations almost double in the first five months of 2017.

According to numbers released by the region’s minister of energy Bart Tommelein, which cites statistics from local power distributors Eandis and Infrax, 16,863 new PV installations were registered in the period between January and May 2017, thus almost doubling the number of new registrations of the same period in the past year, which was 8,840.

Just in May, the minister added, around 4,000 new installations were registered. “PV systems are and remain a good investment,” Tommelein stressed.

Eandis and Infrax launched a campaign to register all unlicensed PV installations in mid-April.  A fine will be applied to those PV system owners that will not have registered their installation by June 1.

According to the head of local solar association PV Vlaanderen, Bram Claeys, the Flemish solar market is currently offering interesting prices for PV systems. “The continued vocal support for solar PV in Flanders by minister Tommelein,” said Claeys to pv magazine, “has resulted in a real uptick in the installation rate. This is reflective of the sound investment solar PV offers electricity consumers. Another important driver for the increased market activity is of course the ever lower cost of solar, where we now see an average installed cost of €1,4/W, with some offers going down to the psychological milestone of €1/W. The next challenges for minister Tommelein are to also improve support for mid-size solar systems on large commercial and public roofs, and to accelerate the transition to a smart and flexible grid.”

Flanders had 2,451 MW of installed PV power at the end of 2016. Last year, new additions totaled 103 MW. According to local renewable energy association Apere, the newly installed PV power in Flanders for 2016 is mostly represented by residential and commercial installations. This trend will likely be confirmed in 2017.

Overall, Belgium has 3.42 GW of installed PV capacity. The remaining amount is installed in the French-speaking region of Wallonia (916 MW) and in the metropolitan region of Brussels (56 MW).

Each of Belgium’s three macro-regions has its own energy systems and its own policy for solar and renewables.