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“Before we were paid, now we have to pay”: between taxes and additional costs, Jérémy wonders if his solar panels will remain profitable

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Via the orange Alert us button, many owners of photovoltaic panels are concerned about the profitability of their photovoltaic installation. While they were unaware of the costs that would be imposed when acquiring their panels, some feel aggrieved. This is the case of Jérémy, a resident of Viroinval. Today, the future torments him.

“We installed panels to reduce our costs and in the end, it’s just the opposite that happens”, release Jeremy via the orange Alert us button. 4 years ago, he installed 22 solar panels on the roof of his house in Viroinval (province of Namur). The goal ? Reduce electricity costs and have an ecological production. The problem is that today he wonders if he made a good choice. “Doubt lives in me. We wonder if it will still be profitable in the months and years to come”he confides.

At the time of the investment, Jérémy was rather confident. “I thought I was doing something good, but over time, privileges are taken away from us and taxes are added to us. I feel like I’ve been cheated. How far is it going to go?”he worries.

Since October 1, 2020, the prosumer tariff has applied to owners of photovoltaic panels in Wallonia, who thus participate in the costs of the network when they consume electricity at a time different from that when their installation produces it. When acquiring his panels in 2018, Jérémy was unaware that this rate would come into effect a few years later. First bad surprise.

Recently, its supplier, the Liège company Mega, announced that it was going to impose a solar panel package. The device must “cover the balancing costs associated with a photovoltaic installation”. Second bad surprise.

Are solar panels still profitable?

So much so that Jérémy begins to doubt the long-term profitability of his photovoltaic installation. “Today, those who want to install signs should think twice”, he breathes. Before adding: “We move forward in the fog. We invest, we are made to believe that and then we are added a whole series of things. Both politicians and suppliers”.

We used to be paid, now we have to pay

Via the orange Alert us button, many panel owners seem dubious. I am enraged. Every day that passes, I regret having placed solar panels on which we are constantly taxed when we are supposed to save money”, Lionel exclaims. “Installing photovoltaic panels is no longer profitable. Before we were paid, now we have to pay to install them”, Dominique gets annoyed.

Belgium, 5th worldwide in number of solar panels per inhabitant

Our country has more than 860,000 solar panel owners. According to a report by the European organization for the sector, Belgium thus rises to fifth place in the world in terms of the number of solar panels, counted per inhabitant. Last May, the installed capacity in Belgium was estimated at 599 watts per inhabitant.

Is the photovoltaic installation still profitable? There is no doubt according to Benjamin Wilkin, director of the ASBL Energie Communes. “Today, producing 1kW of photovoltaic electricity costs around 10 cents. On the other hand, buying 1 kW of electricity from the network from a supplier costs at least 50 cents”, he enlightens. Before concluding : “This means that today in Belgium, a photovoltaic installation has a payback time of 5 years”.

Alexis Vander Putten is the boss of Energreen, a specialist in photovoltaic installations in Wallonia and Brussels. “Lolar panels are more profitable than ever with rising energy prices. The photovoltaic panel allows you to protect yourself from the increase, either by reducing your energy bill, or by reselling the electricity produced at prices which are always higher and higher”. he believes. At present, installation requests are unabated at Energreen. “We are facing an over-demand that we are trying to manage as best we can“, he assures.

Last year, 8,000 installations were carried out. This year, already 30,000 have been registered. According to this business owner, this is due to two factors: “People are looking to protect themselves from energy prices, and on the other hand, more and more people are thinking about consuming in a sustainable way”.

Last July, solar panels provided a record amount of electricity in Belgium, according to grid operator Elia. “It looks like 2022 will be a great year for electricity generated by solar panels, thanks to the weather and the increase in installed capacity,” estimated the manager.