One of the growing regions for solar in Belgium, Flanders is moving ahead with the proposal to cut back subsidies for about 1,200 large scale solar parks on retroactive basis, saving the local government about €1.2 billion that would have been paid to some 200 operators over the next decade.
According to Flemish public broadcaster VRT NWS, Flemish Energy Minister Zuhal Demir has secured a go ahead for a draft decree to this effect from the local government, but needs to be cleared by the advisory councils and the Council of State.
If it goes through, the decision will impact installations that came online before 2013 and the government has shelled out over €200,000 in subsidies in 3 years.
Demir’s proposal was to cancel €1.3 billion worth of green energy certificates for large solar installations to ‘combat over-subsidization’. She had said, “To be clear, these are large solar panel parks that have earned back their investment for a long time. The European rules on state aid speak in our favor, and there is no such thing as a right to over-subsidy.” She also said that the decision may be challenged legally.
Saved money from this move will be used to lower electricity bills for the general populace, according to the minister.
Local Flanders based renewable energy federation ODE Vlaanderen (ODE Flanders) is of course not happy with the development. On the association’s LinkedIn page, it stated that the government move will only target 15% installations but cause 85% collateral damage to small and medium enterprises (SME), governments, citizen cooperative and 3rd party investors.
Flanders has the highest rooftop PV technical potential in Belgium according to EnergyVille. In a November 2021 study, EnergyVille said the country has the potential to install 99.6 GW rooftop solar, equally split between residential, and commercial & industrial (C&I) installations with Flanders alone responsible for a potential 65 GW (see 99.6 GW Rooftop Solar Potential For Belgium).