Belgium’s PV capacity tops 4.25 GW

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Belgium deployed 367 MW of new solar capacity last year, according to provisional data collected by renewable energy association APERE. That amounted to a 103 MW rise on the capacity added in 2017.

Most of last year’s new capacity was installed in Flanders, which accounted for 218 MW. Wallonia saw around 133 MW of new PV with the metropolitan region of Brussels adding 16 MW.

Of Belgium’s cumulative solar capacity, around 3,035 MW is in Flanders and Wallonia and Brussels host 1,136 MW and 83 MW, respectively.

By type, 98% of Belgium’s 526,000 solar power generators have residential systems no larger than 10 kW. The combined capacity of small scale solar represents 64% of the total, with the remaining share coming chiefly from commercial and industrial rooftops.

Rise in solar power output

APERE reported Belgium’s PV power generators produced around 3.5 TWh last year, up from 3.2 TWh in 2017. Despite the rise, PV still accounted for only around 4% of total power demand in 2018, the same percentage as seen the previous year. “At noon during a sunny day, solar power production represents more than 30% of instantaneous electricity consumption,” APERE added.

Belgium saw its largest growth in solar demand between 2009 and 2012, when a green certificate scheme to support PV was introduced. During those four years, newly installed PV capacity of around 2.7 GW was deployed.

Belgium has the potential to reach 18 GW of solar capacity by 2040, according to a report released at the end of 2017 by grid operator Elia.

Although rooftop solar dominates, Flanders is seeing increasing interest in large-scale, ground-mounted plants. Several schemes, including one for a 100 MW solar facility, are being planned in the region. The governments of Wallonia and Flanders are also increasing efforts to support commercial and industrial solar projects for self-consumption.