The government of Belgium’s Flanders region will halve the solar PV premium for residential installations from Jan. 1, 2023. The scheme was introduced in January 2021, after the region’s net metering scheme ended, and it currently offers a premium of up to €1,500. For solar panels commissioned in 2023, the premium will be reduced to a maximum of €750. The contribution will be €150/kWh for the first 4 kWp and €75/kWh from 4 kWp to 6 kWp systems.
“We have no problems with [the measure]. It was announced clearly that it was going to happen, and we fully understand that the premium is no longer needed simply due to the high electricity prices,” Dirk Van Evercooren, managing director of Flemish renewable energy association Organisatie voor Duurzame Energie (ODE) Vlaanderen, told pv magazine.
The measure will also impact those who placed their panel orders in 2022 but only have them installed and inspected in 2023. Flemish Energy Minister Zuhal Demir justified sticking with Dec. 31, 2022, rather than the order date as the cut-off point over fraud concerns, which allegedly took place when the region issued green energy certificates. The premium is scheduled to end altogether in Jan. 1, 2025.
The Flemish government also offers a home battery premium, currently providing €225 for batteries up to 4 kWh, €187.5 for 4 kWh to 6 kWh, and €150 for 6 kWh to 9 kWh. It originally announced it would end this premium on July 1, 2023, but it has now brought the end date to April 1, 2023. For battery systems from 6 kWh to 9 kWh, it will end already on Jan. 1, 2023. That decision was not welcomed by the ODE.
“We do not approve of this [decision]. If there is a path that is announced and suddenly [the premium is reduced and ended] quicker than announced, this causes problems for the sector because sales have already been signed,” said Van Evercooren. From January to April 2023, the premium will be reduced to €150 and €125 for batteries up to 4 kWh and between 4 kWh and 6 kWh, respectively.
Given the premium’s low value, the government’s unexpected decision is nevertheless unlikely to considerably affect Flanders’ home storage market, according to Van Evercooren. Home batteries’ peak shaving services are also expected to become more important in the region in 2023.
“We also see that the [home storage] business proposition for installers has changed. On Jan. 1, 2023, there will be a new capacity-based grid tariff introduced in Flanders. Now the battery systems are not being sold as a complement to the PV installation, but rather [as a way] to lower your grid fee. Batteries will help reduce the peak demand from the grid, which is exactly what this capacity-based tariff is looking at,” Van Evercooren explained.
The premium for heat pump boilers, on the other hand, will be retroactively increased from €450 to €900 for the period between July 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2025. It will remain capped at 40% of eligible investment costs for the purchase and installation of the devices, excluding VAT.
“I think heat pumps are one of the future-proofed technologies, and they are now getting the attention they deserve,” Van Evercooren concluded.
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