Flanders' energy targets for 2020 are ambitious, to say the least, but Flemish Minister of Energy Bart Tommelein is a man with a plan. He has calculated that Flanders needs to install an additional 280 wind turbines and 6.4 million solar panels – that’s one for each Fleming – in the next two years to be able to retrieve at least 10.3 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. Remarkably enough, the Flemish government is not so keen on biomass. Flemish companies, too, prefer solar panels or solar water heaters – even if their rooftops are not ideally suited.
Biomass: the black sheep of the energy landscape
While Flanders is eagerly focusing on wind and solar energy, heat energy is a significantly smaller part of Tommelein's plan. Flander’s Ghent-based biomass power plant, for example, was recently stripped of its subsidies. The Flemish government also watched from the sidelines when the biomass plant in Langerlo filed for bankruptcy about two months ago. Biomass playing a less important role in Flanders’ energy plan has much to do with red tape issues and problems with suppliers (the wood pellets are mainly imported from North America).
All but climate neutral
Additionally, various environmental organizations have been calling out against biomass. Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Greenpeace, Natuurpunt and WWF, for example, all filed an objection against the Langerlo plant because they believe biomass is all but climate neutral. When the biomass power plant in Langerlo was still active, it produced about 20 percent of Limburg’s total CO2 emissions. “We’re talking about CO2 that will linger in the atmosphere for decades,” a spokesperson for Greenpeace said.
Flemish companies have their minds set on solar panels
Flemish companies are obligated by law to make new company buildings at least partly self-reliant in terms of energy. Strikingly, while subsidies for solar panels continue to decline (homeowners can’t even apply for them anymore), Flemish companies are massively installing solar panels as we speak. Not without good reason, of course: electricity is now historically expensive, while solar panels are getting cheaper by the day. Thanks to technological developments, their ROI keeps rising as well.
Flanders’ solar map
Evidently, not all rooftops are equally suitable for solar panels. That's why Minister Tommelein developed a solar map that enables Flemish companies and citizens to easily check whether their roofs are compatible with solar panels. The map even calculates how much the solar panels would cost and how long it will take before the panels pay for themselves.
What about less than ideally located buildings?
So what if your building’s rooftop turns out to be less ideal for solar panels? Then there’s no need to abandon your plans just yet. Solar panels react to light, even on cloudy days or if your roof is not ideally located. It all comes down to combining your solar panels with efficient energy management, so that you can get the most out of the energy your panels produce.
Maximizing solar panels’ ROI through energy management
Flemish companies have been investing heavily in solar panels for several years now. Recently, they are also discovering the potential of energy management systems, which enable them to monitor and optimize both their energy production and consumption in great detail. Energy management systems like fifthplay’s also instantly detect irregularities, so that energy leaks can be fixed immediately.
To measure is to know. Take control of your solar panels’ energy yield today! Discover fifthplay’s energy management system.