Belgium: Flemish government pushes for more community solar

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The Flemish Energy Agency (Vlaams Energieagentschap – VEA) and the Flemish Minister for Energy, Bart Tommelein have launched Zonnengids, a new platform to encourage small private investments and crowdfunding for the financing of commercial and industrial PV projects.

The platform is intended to connect private citizens that have funds to invest in solar but no roof or surface available, to developers of large rooftop projects, the VEA said in its statement. The Flemish PV market is currently dominated by residential PV installations up to 10 kW, while larger rooftop projects must currently address more difficult access to financing.

“Homeowners with no roof available and other potential investors may have to face too complex issues to set up a community solar projects. The platform Zonnengis has been created with the purpose of connecting owners of PV projects with these potential investors,” the VEA stressed.

The platform also provides additional information on how to start a collective of projects and good practices, as well as technical and financial advice.

In order to support more solar energy deployment, the Flemish government also launched the campaign “Solar panels everywhere” (Overal zonnepanelen) in January.  The campaign aims to promote rooftop solar among private citizens and municipalities.

On top of this, the Flemish government revealed it is also planning to introduce a virtual net metering scheme for solar PV energy. This scheme is aimed at helping power consumers with no surface available to invest in solar to buy a share in a net metered installation owned by a third party, and to use its stake in the project to reduce their energy bills.

According to the most recent statistics available, Flanders added around 188 MW of new PV systems in 2018. Almost all of last year’s newly installed PV capacity comes in the form of residential PV systems not exceeding 10 kW, installed under net metering.