Belgium solar energy grows against the current

Although subsidies and tax benefits are being cut, solar panels in Belgium become cheaper every day. 2011 renounced all pessimistic predictions and set a new record with 880 Megawatt new installed PV modules. Experts predict the same growth in 2012. Especially in the industrial market, where companies still enjoy tax reductions.

Early 2011, experts thought the solar market would collapse due to decreasing subsidies. "But prices decreased also in a way that consumers paid less for their panels in the end. In retrospect, all panic was for nothing. In Flanders 600 new Megawatt was installed and in the entire country 880 Megawatt, making 2011 the best year ever,” CEO Alex Polfliet of Zero Emission Solutions (ZES) states. The author of several books on renewable energy served ten years as an advisor for the state secretary of energy, before starting his own successful company.

According to Polfliet, in 2012 history will repeat itself. Even though the market is slow now, caused by negative media reports of tax benefits on solar panels being ended. Polfliet: ,,Newspapers wrote that the payback period was extended with five years, but that’s not true. Prices dropped again so it takes people seven years to earn back their money on panels that last for twenty years.”

After Germany, Belgium comes second in the world, when the installed solar power per capita is compared, ZES calculated. Polfliet believes that in 2015 or 2016 electricity from your roof will be cheaper than from the grid. After that point subsidies are no longer needed.

Polfliet is one of the speakers during the Solar Future conference, held on March 28th in Area 42 in Brussels. CEO’s, professionals and experts will speak there about investment opportunities, innovation and all kinds of solar projects.

SolarAccess has a lot of experience with large roof projects. The company installs en exploits solar panels globally. Thought consumers saw their tax benefits disappear, companies can still deduct 13,5 percent of their investments. ,,Especially in Wallonia we see a lot of business opportunities for solar panels on large buildings,” country manager Tom Pollyn says. He thinks consumers should not step back now. "All this reserve is unnecessary. In Flanders we were a bit spoiled in the last few years, when the payback period was four to five years. Now its six to seven years.”

Solarplaza organises the second Solar Future conference due to last year’s success. ,,Now is the time to show Belgium it still pays to invest in solar energy,” says Paul van der Linden of Solarplaza.