Belgium’s Flanders region plans to launch virtual net metering

The Energy Minister of the Belgian Flemish-speaking marco-region of Flanders, Bart Tommelein has announced a plan to introduce a virtual net metering scheme for solar PV energy.

Tommelein said that local network opertors, Eandis and Infrax will invite the region’s power distributors to take part to the program in February. In the first phase, the two grid operators will collect data and connect potential investors with the owners of solar power generators.

“Zonnendelen is the next and logical step to ensure that more solar panels and especially larger PV plants are added. Whoever will invest in a solar park under virtual net metering will immediately see the results on his or her own energy bill,” Tommelein said.

Under the new scheme, electricity consumers that do not own a surface for the installation of a PV system may invest in projects owned by a third party, and use its portion of the plant to reduce their energy bills.

Virtual net metering is a bill crediting system for community solar, which has successfully been adopted in California and other U.S. states, such as New York, Colorado, Massachussetts, Minnesota and Vermont. Under this kind of mechanism, the number of virtual net metering credits an electricity consumer may receive depends on the size of the PV system quota they decide to buy.

As an example, virtual net metering can make it possible for electricity consumers of multi-family buildings to share a collective rooftop PV system, with power providers paying retail rates for the surplus power that the installation injects into the grid.