Is your company planning to move to new premises? As of January 1, 2017, businesses are required to (partially) generate green power for each new company building, using their green energy source of choice. The vast majority of Flemish companies chooses to ignore wind turbines, water turbines, geothermal and biomass, opting for solar panels instead. A notable trend, but certainly not a surprising one. Not only are solar panels the most practical choice in the Flemish region, they are also the most profitable – even without subsidies. Continue reading to learn all you need to know.
Rising electricity prices
SMEs are paying as much as 6 percent more for electricity compared to last year. This increase stems from Belgium’s ambition to be independent from nuclear energy and fossil fuels by 2050. The Flemish government is investing heavily in renewable energy sources, but, ironically enough, the nuclear power phase-out causes an increased need for fossil fuels. Which, evidently, comes with a hefty price tag. While solar and wind power are doing their bit, they do not yet suffice to meet all of Flanders’ energy needs.
A breakthrough year for solar panels
In 2007, European experts predicted that solar energy would be competing full-on with fossil fuels in 2017 at the latest. And they were right, as it turns out, because we are indeed reaching the long-awaited tipping point. In sunny regions such as Australia, Chile, Brazil and Mexico, solar panels and fossil fuels are neck and neck, with solar electricity in some countries even costing half the price of coal-generated electricity. If electricity prices continue to rise annually by 3 percent, the World Economic Forum concludes in a report on green energy investments, we’ll see this trend continued in 80 percent of the world.
On Flanders roofs …
After rain come solar panels, even in Flanders. Although the Flemish region isn’t exactly known for its sunny climate, analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance see a bright future for solar panels in Flanders. They are convinced the fight against the rising electricity prices will play a significant part in this development, as will technological innovations.
Prices for solar panels continue to decline
Over the past five years, the efficiency of solar panels has increased tremendously, the maximum yield having risen from 15 to 22 percent – some laboratories even achieving 46 percent. Additionally, as more and more solar panels are being produced, prices are dropping significantly. By comparison, we pay 80 percent less for solar panels now than we did in 2009. A rule of thumb: each time the maximum yield of solar panels doubles, the price drops 22 percent.
No more subsidies in the future
Meanwhile, the government is cutting back on solar panel subsidies. Private citizens already no longer receive them, companies still do – but the amounts are dropping each year. Which makes perfect sense, according to the Flemish Energy Agency. Every six months, the agency investigates how many subsidies are needed to make solar panels sufficiently profitable. As the efficiency of solar panels continues to increase, companies today only require a subsidy of 41.70 euros per megawatt, compared to 61.30 euros four years ago. The subsidies for solar panels will fade out completely in the long term, but the dropping prices and increasing ROI more than make up for that.
Energy management for maximum energy efficiency
Having seen the light, many companies are installing solar panels on their roofs. A great deal of them, however, fail to deploy them to the fullest. This mainly concerns companies that aren’t combining their solar panels with an efficient energy management system that allows them to monitor and optimize both their energy production and consumption, and to detect irregularities instantly.
To measure is to know. Take control of your solar panels’ energy yield today!