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.


What green investments or other things do you do?


8 thoughts on “Going solar?

  1. Mattias

    I had some solar panels mounted on my roof in january 2017 (4.9kWp). For now, certainly with the sunny weather of the last couple of weeks, it really feels like a good deal. The monthly electricity bill is materially reduced although I will need more time and experience with the system to full assess whether it is totally worth it, more so because the legal and tax context is rather fluid as you correctly point out in your article. At least it makes you more conscious about electricity consumption and the timing of consumption.


    1. Dividends Are Coming Post author

      I’m looking at an installation of around 3000Wp myself. In terms of electricity consumption we’re already pretty economical, there’s not much more we can do without replacing things that aren’t broken yet like the laundry dryer.


  2. CrossCountry

    Hello there, great to find another Belgium dividend investor. I’m also based in Belgium and started recently being a dividend investor as well! Already own great pieces of business (KO/Munich Re/UN/Dis/T/Roche/). Reallt interested to subscribe to your posts but I did not find anywhere I could to this. Any tips?



    1. Dividends Are Coming Post author

      Nice to hear about fellow countrymen dividend investors, looks like you already have some great names in your portfolio. You can follow me on Twitter or subscribe to receive e-mails about new posts on this blog by clicking the “Follow” button in the lower right corner of this site.


      1. CrossCountry

        Yep, found that! I thought I would let you know that I just read ALL your posts starting from the beginning during the last 3 days. Finally came to June 2017 ! Looking forward to new posts while I am contemplating buying TGT shares…


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