The number of prosumers – households who produce solar power and consume at least some of it locally – has increased in Belgium by nearly 67,000 in 2019 reaching 590,000 in total. It means – unique in Europe – 1/8 households owns is solar photovoltaic installation.
The news has been reported by Becquerel Institute, the national partner of the EU-sponsored research project PVP4GRID, which since 2017 has been analyzing these new energy concepts in eight European countries, and which is now coming to an end. In terms of perspectives, the report on socio-economic impacts showed that solar photovoltaic could reach 18 GW of installed capacity in 2030 if all barriers were removed which represents approximatively 20% of the actual national electricity consumption.
The sector could regroup 8,800 full-time jobs and have an annual value creation over 1 billion €. The on-site consumption of solar power, whether by an individual, family, commercial enterprise or energy cooperative, in a privately owned house or in a rented apartment, is seen as one of the megatrends shaping the future of the energy system. “Every locally used kilowatthour prevents the production, transport and associated losses of centrally produced and often still fossil-based electricity” says Gregory Neubourg, Head of Operations at Becquerel Institute. Particularly high so-called self-consumption rates can be achieved by adding a solar energy storage unit and a charging station for electric vehicles. “PVP4Grid shows how prosuming already works in different European countries, what barriers still exist and how they can be overcome,” according to Neubourg.
Self-supply with solar energy changes prosumers’ energy requirements and the load profiles in the local electricity networks. By adopting grid-assistive behavior, prosumers can contribute to the stabilization of the electricity networks through flexible balancing of consumption and generation and smoothing the midday peaks in solar power generation. While at prosumers’ grid connection points valuable data can be obtained via smart meters, opportunities, incentives and new regulation have to be created to allow data to be used in support of system flexibility and stability.
About PVP4GRID PV
Prosumers4Grid (PVP4Grid) is an EU-funded project involving 12 partners from various European countries. The main objective of PVP4GRID is to increase the market share and market value of photovoltaics (PV) by enabling consumers to become PV prosumers in a system-friendly manner. PVP4GRID aims at a better integration of PV into the energy system with a focus on market integration. New management and business models to combine PV, storage, flexible demand and other technologies into a commercially viable product are assessed, improved, implemented and evaluated.