Belgian solar market grew by 50% in 2017

Belgium registered a new PV capacity of 264 MW last year, according to provisional data collected by local renewable energy association, APERE. This is up around 50% from 2016, where solar demand in the country reached around 170 MW.

Most of this new capacity was installed in Flanders, which accounted for around 193 MW (73% of all new installations), followed by Wallonia and the Brussels Metropolitan Region, which accounted for 33 MW (25%) and 5 MW (2%), respectively.

APERE claims that last year’s growth was mainly attributable to the drop in prices for PV equipment, and that the main driver remained residential PV (up to 10 kW), which accounted for 86% of last year’s new additions.

Overall, the country’s cumulative PV capacity reached 3.816 GW as of the end of December 2017, the association revealed. Of this capacity, 2.792 GW are located in Flanders, while Wallonia and Brussels have a share of 961 MW and 62 MW, respectively.

In Wallonia residential PV dominates the market, representing around 83% of all installed capacity, while in Flanders, which has seen an increase in new projects for commercial and industrial PV projects recently, residential PV comprises 57%.

Furthermore, APERE reports that in 2017 all of the PV power generators installed in Belgium were able to produce around 3.2 TWh, thus covering about 4% of total power demand.

Belgium saw its largest growth in solar demand between 2009 and 2012, when a green certificate scheme to support solar was introduced. During these four years, newly installed PV power exceeded 500 MW, and in 2011 it even peaked at more than 1 GW.

After the closure of the scheme, new additions dropped to around 100 MW per year between 2014 and 2015. Since 2016, however, the Belgian solar market has started to slowly recover.

According to a recent report released by Belgian high-voltage grid operator Elia, the country may reach an installed PV power of up to 18 GW by 2040.