Monthly Archives: June 2017

Going solar?

So  yesterday’s green post from Amber Tree Leaves inspired me to write up a little green post of my own. One of my next investments this year may be solar panels. Over the past decade,  I’ve switched my position on renewables from a critic to a believer in the long-term potential of wind and solar energy.

Technological progress and scale of economies have dramatically reduced the cost of renewables. I’ve always considered 1EUR per Watt-peak an import psychological barrier and that’s roughly where we are right now for DIY kits as prices dropped to less than a quarter of what they were a decade ago.

Unfortunately, the payback time is still a bit longer than I’d like it to be. This is primarily because the Flemish government charges a big tax on solar installations that are connected to the power grid.

The position of our government on solar energy is pretty weird to say the least. On one hand the government wants a lot more renewables because of the commitment to the EU 2020 goals but on the other hand they’re heavily taxing residential PV systems to fill holes caused by over-subsidizing solar in the past.

During the solar boom in our country new installations were extremely over-subsidized in Flanders but now we’re in the opposite situation where there are no subsidies and owners of PV systems need to pay a tax to use the grid as a “battery”.  As in many other areas, government fucked up hard and created an unstable and uncertain investment climate.

Under somewhat optimal conditions, I think it’s possible for the PV system to pay back itself within nine years. But a lot depends on the future (and constantly changing) legal framework.

pvpanels

What green investments or other things do you do?