22% of households in Flanders use solar panels. Belgium is therefore in the leading group of European countries that invest in sustainable energy sources. But like many other European countries, Belgium has mainly focused its policy on one favorite green technology. There is still a lot of work to be done in the field of heat pumps, batteries and electric cars. Belgium faces the challenge of diversifying its green energy efforts and pursuing a broader range of sustainable solutions to maintain and strengthen its leading position in Europe.
22% of households have solar panels, but less than 1% have batteries
Belgium is making a lot of progress in the field of sustainable energy for consumers, with a notable share of the use of solar panels. Currently, 22% of households in Flanders use solar panels. In Wallonia this percentage is 16%. Over the past 20 years, Belgium has focused its policy on that one favorite technology, solar panels, and has lost sight of other green solutions. The result: only 1% of households in Flanders have a heat pump and even fewer families have a home battery.
This one-sided focus on solar panels is comparable to trends in other European countries. Although the focus there was on other technologies. In Sweden and Norway, for example, 50% and 70% of households respectively have heat pumps, while the use of solar panels is limited to only 3% of Swedish and 1% of Norwegian households.
Belgium has been focusing on pet technology for years, a favorite technology – namely solar panels, says Cdric Sever, Country Manager of Otovo for the Belgian market. The government has actively taken measures, such as green energy certificates, subsidies and reduced VAT rates, to encourage consumers to install solar panels. At the same time, other green technologies, such as heat pumps, battery storage and electric vehicles, have remained under the radar for a long time.
1 + 1 = 3
The lack of diversity in green technologies poses a problem for the potential of the technologies. It is common knowledge that green technologies are most cost-effective when used together. For example, the use of home batteries can help store solar energy and smooth out peaks in energy production. The combination of heat pumps and solar panels offers the opportunity to completely switch away from natural gas for heating.
With 2024 in sight, it will be crucial that green technologies come together in Belgium for consumers. Price cuts and subsidies for electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to provide attractive investment opportunities for households in Europe in the coming years. “The urgency of changes in green technologies increases as 2024 approaches, says Cdric Sever. Due to the expected decrease in costs for green technologies in the coming year, it will be the time to invest. One plus one is three in sustainability solutions, so anyone who invests in various green technologies will certainly reap the benefits.