Country: Belgium-Flanders

Please find below latest updates as regards national policy and legal-administrative changes. For more information on these measures please contact the national association, contact details are available here

February 2014 - Green certificates for small PV systems abolished

The Flemish Government decided, from 17 February 2014, to abolish the green certificates for small PV systems up to 10 kW. Following the abolishment of the grid fee in november 2013, the need for support for small PV installations falls below 0, but solar panels remain an interesting choice for households.

Is the support for all PV systems abolished?

No, only for small PV systems up to 10 kW, the "private" PV plants. For larger PV plants the green certificates are preserved, because the cost structure is otherwise: no net metering on the kWh meter and a lower power tariff. For PV between 10 and 250 kW, the support still is 48.54 euro / MWh; for PV between 250 and 750 kW, the aid amounts to 40.55 euros / MWh.

Why is there no more need for support for small PV?

The support needed for solar panels is recalculated every six months by the Flemish Energy Agency VEA. With the calculation model of the "onrendabele top” (“financial gap"), VEA calculates how much aid per MWh of solar electricity is required for 15 years to achieve 5% of a financial return on investment In the previous calculation of January 2013, the grid fee (introduced in december 2012) was included, causing the need for a small amount of support. In the new calculation without grid fee, in January 2014, the need for support falls below 0. That means that no more green certificates are awarded to small PV systems up to 10 kW. Domestic solar energy production still remains interesting for private households in terms of financial savings by net metering, even without subsidies.

Do existing PV plants still receive green certificates?

For all PV installations installed before 2013, nothing changes. For small PV installations which were started up after 1/1/2013 with the new support mechanism, there was a (small) certificate support of 21 euros / MWh, but this is also abolished because the grid fee has been abolished and so they have become viable without support. Moreover, the payment of a green certificate only could be claimed after more than 4400 kWh, so it was a long wait for a small fee.

What about net metering?

Net metering is not touched by this recent adaptation. For small PV systems up to 10 kW the kWh meter meter will register power savings by the production of green electricity from solar panels which is subtracted from the power consumption. That is also the main revenue from solar panels, about ten times larger than the (now abolished) small support from green certificates.

Date of adoption: 17 of January 2014

January 2013 - Retroactive measure: Grid injection fee

Description of the measure: New grid fee in Flemish region for PV≤10 kW for the partial compensation of missed distribution fee caused by net metering allowed for this category of small PV systems.

Details:

• A fixed 53 euro per year per kW installed or

• An injection-based fee measured through of a smart meter able to measure injected and withdrawn electricity  to/from the grid. The smart meter will have to be paid by the PV owner

• Proposal from distribution grid operators, to be approved by the national regulator CREG

• Decision applicable to all existing and new PV systems from 1 January 2013

Impact on the Sector:  The grid fee will be over 55% of the new support by green certificates as from January 2013

Date of adoption:  Adopted by the Belgium Electricity and Gas regulator, CREG, on 6 December 2012

August 2012 - Unplanned support reduction

Description of the measure: Drastic cut in green certificate support mechanism.

Details:

• decrease announced on May 25th, going into effect on August 1st (two months later), without consultation of the PV sector in advance

• reduction of guaranteed price for PV green certificates from 210 euro/MWh over 20 years to 90 euro/MWh over 10 years (= reduction of total support per kWp PV from 4200 euro to 900 euro = minus 79%).

Impact on the Sector:  PV market has been moribund since August 1st, 2012: only 493 kW has been installed in comparison to 230 MW in the first 6 months. Uncertainty about the new green certificate price valid from January 2013 will last till beginning of december, leading to a serious market decrease and PV companies going broke or shrinking.

Date of adoption: July 2012

 

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