Solar panels in Belgium: prices, subsidies and injection
An increasing number of households in Belgium has installed solar panels or will be going to in the near future. How do you choose the best solar panels and what things do you need to keep in mind? CallMePower explains everything you need to know about solar panels in Belgium.
How To Install Solar Panels in Belgium?
Like in many countries, solar panel regulation is regional. In some cases in Belgium you would have to request a permit for the installation of solar panels. In Flanders and Wallonia solar panels placed on the roof do not require a permit unless the property is protected or historic. In Brussels additional regulations are added: the solar panels can not be visible from a public space and they do not protrude more than 30cm off the roof.
For the installation of solar panels on the ground, on a protected building or in other regulated cases, you will have to contact your municipality.
There are several companies active in Belgium that install solar panels. There are no conditions specifically for the installation of solar panels, so it is possible to install the solar panels yourself. However, it is advisable to have these works carried out by a recognized technician who can also carry out an inspection immediately.
Install Solar Panel Inverter
Solar panels produce direct current, but the current you use at home is alternating current. To convert the electricity generated by the solar panels into electricity that can be used in a home, an inverter must be installed. At least one inverter is required for each installation.
You choose a solar panel inverter based on the capacity of the solar panels. It is advisable to choose an inverter that can handle 90% to 110% of the installation.
Inspection Of Solar Panels By Technician
To commission the solar panels, they will have to be inspected by a recognized technician. The installation must be inspected on the basis of the General Regulations for Electrical Installations, or AREI.
This inspection is necessary to connect the solar panel installation to the electricity grid, to receive the injection fee and to claim the solar panel premiums.
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Solar Panel Prices Belgium
The price of solar panels has dropped significantly in recent years. In addition, you can receive a subsidy from the government for photovoltaic panels. The average solar panel price is around €1.26 per watt peak (Wp), although the exact price depends on a number of criteria:
- The type of solar panel and installation;
- The power of the solar panels (kWp);
- The type of roof;
- The accessibility of the roof (height, distance between the roof and the fuse box, etc.).
Subsidies Solar Panels Belgium
Over the coming years, the solar panel subsidy will be gradually phased out. For this reason, it is advisable to install solar panels in time, as otherwise you could miss out on a large amount of subsidies.
Currently the maximum amount of subsidies you can receive for the instalment of solar panels in Flanders is €750. In 2024 the maximum subsidy will decrease to €375.
The subsidy amount is always limited to 40% of the total investment costs including VAT, as stated on the invoices.
What Is The Yield Of Solar Panels In Belgium?
The solar panel yield depends on a number of factors, which makes it difficult to indicate what the exact yield is. One way that the suppliers of solar panels use to give an indication of the efficiency is the unit of watt peak (Wp).
However, this says nothing about the relationship between the yield of the solar panels and the required investment. Over the entire lifespan of solar panels, the efficiency for a properly functioning installation will be above 200%. The payback period is in most cases between six and ten years, where the lifespan of solar panels is about 25 years.
Injection Tariff Solar Panels Belgium
It is not always possible to use all the electricity produced by the solar panels directly yourself. In this case you have the possibility to inject your electricity into the energy grid. In case you have a digital energy meter, you will receive an injection tariff for each kilowatt you have injected to the grid.
The injection tariffs can differ per provider, which is why it is recommended to take this into account when comparing providers.
Prosumer Tariff Solar Panels Belgium
In case your house is still equipped with an old, analog energy meter, you will not be able to receive the injection tariff. Older meters are not able to make a differentiation between injected and used electricity. The analog meters will count backwards when electricity is injected into the grid, resulting in an overall lower energy consumption.
However, because households with this older system will pay less taxes, since their consumption on paper is lower, they will have to pay an additional tax, called the Prosumer Tariff. This tariff costs around €50 per kW per year.
In case you would like to install a digital energy meter and make use of the injection tariff, you will have to contact the energy grid operator (Fluvius in Flanders, Sibelga in Brussels).
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How Do Solar Panels Work?
A solar panel converts sunlight or the sun's heat into electricity, hot water, or as a general source of heating. It operates using solar energy, one of the most abundant sources of renewable energy. Other sources of renewable energy include: wind turbines, hydropower, and biomass.
With enough solar panels, you will be significantly less dependent on your energy provider and are able to use completely green electricity. Solar panels can also help you with lowering your energy bills.
There are two different types of solar panels in Belgium you can install:
- Solar Thermal Panels
- Photovoltaic Panels
What Are Solar Thermal Panels?
Solar thermal panels capture the sun's heat to produce domestic hot water as well as heating your home. They are usually combined with a solar water heater.
The solar thermal panel is equipped with a sensor that collects up to 90% of the sun's light rays, and instantly transforms them into heat. The heat is transported by a "heat transfer fluid" to the water tank serving as storage space. The water in the tank will be heated, and the heat transfer fluid flows back to its source to start the cycle again.
In general, if it is overcast or something was blocking the sun, the solar thermal panel would have a back up system such as a gas or oil boiler, or a heat pump, allowing you to continue having hot water all the time.
What Are Photovoltaic Panels?
Photovoltaic panels capture sunlight and transform it into green electricity, thanks to the photovoltaic solar cells. The main advantage of this solar panel model is that as long as there is sunlight, electricity is produced. So you can be sure that you are producing electricity constantly, even in winter, and you can use the electricity to power anything in your house, not just for water heating.
There are two types of photovoltaic panels:
- Monocrystalline panel: They are black in colour, most efficient in energy production, but also more expensive.
- Polycrystalline panel: They are blue in colour, less efficient in energy production, but also less expensive.
The choice between the two panels is based on price, space, and aesthetics. Depending on your budget, the polycrystalline panels are less expensive. Also, depending on the space you have, the monocrystalline panels are more efficient and therefore require less panels which means less space. And finally, if neither space nor budget is an issue, then it comes down to choosing which colour suits you best, blue or black.
If your aim is to cover all of your electricity consumption with solar energy, you will need to cover around 20-30 m2 of your roof with panels. However, this can be quite costly, which is why many households decide to install only a few solar panels to offset part of their consumption.
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