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Owners of solar panels that broke down to be compensated

The problem affected around 2,400 solar panel installations. Credit: Fluvius

Thousands of people in Flanders who own solar panels that stopped producing electricity during very sunny days this summer will be compensated by the regional government.

Earlier this week, grid manager Fluvius announced it received around 2,400 reports of solar panels shutting down on sunny days, a 65% increase from the number received last year.

Flemish Minister of Energy Zuhal Demir confirmed in Parliament on Wednesday that she is planning to compensate people whose solar panels were affected by the overvoltage as a result of more energy being produced than was being used.

Sometimes, this issue can be solved on a local level, however, sometimes it requires the company to carry out technical works, which involve either new cables with greater capacity being added or placing extra electricity junctions on the grid to allow power to be redistributed more easily.

“In that case, this solution cannot be done in a few weeks. Depending on the conditions, it is a solution that will take from few months to a year and a half to complete,” Fluvius’ spokesperson Björn Verdoodt told The Brussels Times.

Demir argued that solar panel owners who have to wait a long time for a solution should receive compensation for this.

“I will draw up a proposal so that Fluvius gets that possibility to do so,” she said.

Long-term solution

However, one minister, Andries Gryffroy, argued in parliament that compensation should be seen as a last resort and that the problem should be tackled at the source – the electricity grid itself.

Both Fluvius and Demir confirmed that these incidents are “mainly proof that the grid needs to be reinforced,” while Verdoodt stressed that the company is now carrying out large-scale technical works on 18 sites to make such improvements, and has planned to do so at another 12 sites.

“This is not a huge problem affecting a large number of panels. However, the number of complaints regarding this issue is rising, which is why we are intervening,” Verdoodt said.

The Brussels Times

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