As energy prices continue to soar, due largely to concerns about fuel supply and the war in Ukraine, Flanders is increasingly looking to sustainable energy alternatives; in particular, solar panels.
Suppliers report that demand has tripled and the sector federation said waiting times are currently as long as three months, Het Laatste Nieuws reports.
Ever since the energy crisis hit in October last year, solar panel installers have seen demand for solar panels and heat pumps rise exponentially.
At MR Solar in Kortrijk, the demand has increased by 250–300% and the order book has filled up for almost the entire year.
DGS Solar, based in Baal in Brabant, has seen a similar surge in popularity. Installing solar panels and sustainable energy efficiency systems “previously accounted for 15% of our work... Now heat pumps, solar panels and home batteries already make up 90% of our assignments,” a spokesperson said.
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Thomas Brever, manager of solar specialists Brever in Kortenberg, speaks of working flat out to instal panels and heat pumps: “We do an average of ten visits a day, and recently we had 80 requests in one day. That is immense – a year ago there were ten requests a day at most.”
That also affects the delivery period. “It is not easy to get containers here. We even see stock shortages with heat pumps, because manufacturers are not used to such high demand,” Brever said.
Dirk Van Evercooren of ODE, the sector organisation for sustainability, explains the rush for green energy in Flanders: "With energy bills at peak levels, there is a huge interest in green solar energy."
Vendors of solar panels are in agreement: the high demand is driven by the energy crisis rather than a sudden push to cut emissions.
With the rise in prices first biting in October, February saw a second boost in popularity for green alternatives, as war in Ukraine erupted and energy prices skyrocketed.
Kimberley Dewilde of MR solar makes the observation that "many Flemish people had just received their annual statement. During that period, they panicked at the high invoices. The solution is to generate as much energy as possible."