In July, all solar panels in Belgium produced 935 GWh of electricity. That’s good for 15% of the electricity, which is a record. According to Geertjan Schaeffer, CEO of EnergyVille, many of those records will follow. “We are only at the beginning.”
How did we break this record only in July?
“July is of course a summer month. Then there is first of all more sun than winter. August has less sun. The record is there because we have less clouds in June and there are more and more solar panels.”
“So there is a good chance that we will break records again in the summer months next year. Higher energy prices will make solar panels more attractive. The bottom line is: our energy system is changing. This record month is a sign of that. We are responsible for 15 per cent of the Total energy generated: One day that will be 80 percent, complete with wind power. The whole debate about gas or nuclear has a marginal effect on that: it’s actually irrelevant.”
You say solar panels are still being added. Was there no waiting time for the installation of the solar panels?
“Yes. This is the case not only in Flanders, but all over Europe. Most of the panels still come from China. As with many goods, it was difficult to re-transport them after Corona. At the same time, demand increased significantly due to Energy prices are rising.
Why do most solar panels come from China?
It started about ten years ago. At that time, China began to invest heavily in this field. As a result, European production was completely banned from the market. Now that the show is off, there are more voices to take over this production once again. Although European solar panels may be a little more expensive. Large Chinese production, of course, led to this: panels became cheaper. That’s a positive thing again.”
“Admittedly, solar panels have gotten a little more expensive in the last couple of years. But compare that with energy prices: they’ve gone up a lot more. Now you can get your solar panels back in two to three years. Previously it was six to seven years.” .
Can the share of solar panels grow?
“Yes, we are just getting started. We calculated this once with EnergyVille: in all, the solar panels now provide 7 gigawatts of electrical energy. That could be 100 gigawatts, if we consider the potential of the rooftop solar panels. This could theoretically cover the consumption of The current electricity of 80 billion kWh in Belgium.”
In the future, we will be able to cover energy demand by using solar panels for much of the year. We will then move on to a completely different energy system in which wind and sun become the main resource. They are very different from gas or coal power plants: they provide electricity when there is wind or sun and not necessarily when it is needed. So we have to move towards more energy storage and automating our electricity needs so that they adapt as closely as possible to the changing supply.”
what do you mean by that?
“Imagine you have an electric car. When you hang it on a charging station, it should be able to charge when there is wind or sun and not immediately when you hang it on the charging station. In short, demand should be shaped to some extent according to supply. This is very different from right Now “.
If we had more electric cars, we could use them more for our electricity grid, for example. It might be nice to know, but this battery is good for the electricity consumption of an entire family for a week. So if we can find a way to use these batteries as part of the grid when the cars are stationary – which happens a lot – I’ve really solved a very large part of the problem.”
“Total coffee specialist. Hardcore reader. Incurable music scholar. Web guru. Freelance troublemaker. Problem solver. Travel trailblazer.”