Wallonia’s grid fee for prosumers will apply only to new systems

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The government of Belgium’s Wallonia region has approved at first reading a decree regulating the grid fee charged to prosumers who both consume and sell power generated by their household PV systems. According to the provisions, the controversial fee will come into force on January 1 next year rather than having taken effect two months ago, as previously recommended by energy regulator the Walloon Commission for Energy (CwaPE).

The decree will also exempt from the fee all existing PV power generators as well as those that will be grid-connected by the end of June.

The CwaPE said in a statement, the revised provisions mean energy consumers will have to unfairly shoulder the burden of grid fees until January.

“The CWaPE remarks the fact that the draft decree could impinge on the competences of the independent regulator, particularly in terms of tariffs, powers and [the] independence desired by the European legislator,” said the regulator. “The CWaPE specifies that the rapid evolution of network usage methods – energy communities, microgrids, direct lines, storage, etc. – will require, at the latest for the period after 2023, new works, analyses and devices in order to achieve an evolution of the tariff methodology [needed for] fully integrating these new data.”

Household systems the norm

The exemption from paying the fee for existing PV installations is undoubtedly good news for residential system owners in the region, whose cumulative installed solar capacity stood at around 1.1 GW at the end of 2018. As recent statistics have shown, the vast majority of that capacity is made up by PV installations not exceeding 10 kW in size and deployed under the region’s two support schemes for solar: the Solwatt, which expired in 2014; and the Qualiwatt.

A fee of €330-560 per year could be paid to Wallonia’s utilities after January 1, depending on system size and location.

Each of Belgium’s three regions has its own regulatory framework for solar and renewable energy.