Belgium may add up to 18 GW of solar by 2040

Belgium’s cumulative installed PV capacity may grow from around 3.43 GW currently to up to 18 GW in 2040, according to a report by Belgian high-voltage grid operator Elia.

The study, which analyzes both short-term and long-term policy options on the future energy mix for Belgium on the path towards 2050, provides three different scenarios: a “base-case” scenario that is in line with the current policy for reaching the 2030 European climate targets; a “decentral” scenario that presents the highest penetration of solar capacity and includes, among other things, additional renewable energy generation via decentralized sources such as a large number of PV installations (up to 11.6 GW in 2030 and 18 GW in 2040) in combination with storage devices (from 3 GW in 2030 to 5 GW in 2040); and a “large-scale” scenario that envisages additional renewable energy generation via large-scale projects that are mainly in onshore and offshore wind power.

The “base-case” scenario predicts growth in PV installations of just 100 MW per year, reaching 6 GW in 2040, while the “large-scale” scenario forecasts 300 MW per year and an additional 10 GW of PV. The “decentral” scenario, instead, expects around 600 MW of newly installed PV capacity per year.

The study also predicts that CAPEX for new-built PV capacity will improve from €1,700/kW in 2016 to €1,000/kW in 2030 and €800/kW in 2040. The LCOE of PV, on the other hand, is expected to decrease from around €200/MWh to values around €100/MWh in 2040.

Elia also expects at least 3.6 GW of new-built thermal generation capacity that has to be developed in Belgium in order to compensate for the planned steep drop in thermal generation following the expected decommissioning of old gas units and the nuclear phase-out, which is planned by 2025.

Belgium has reached 3.42 GW of installed PV power at the end of 2016, according to data collected by local renewable energy association Apere, which has combined the figures released by the country’s three energy regulators: Brugel, VREG, and CwaPE.