How did a country in the middle of Western Europe, starting almost from scratch, reach the European top 3 in terms of solar PV capacity in five years? And what were the costs? We provide a systematic chronological review of the different governmental support instruments that drove the exponential growth of the solar energy market in the Flanders region of Belgium and calculate their relative contributions. The results of the economic calculations show that green electricity certificates had by far the greatest effect on both the rise and stagnation of the market, costing about 1.5 billion euro only for 2006-2013. The long-term societal costs of such growth proved to be even higher (6.7 billion for 2014-2031) and unevenly distributed, with residents paying the highest price via their energy bills. Companies continuously adapted their organizations to enact the available support instruments. Counter-intuitively, the substantial support shifted the attention of companies to the larger systems, even though the incentive for investment in PV was lower than for the smaller systems.
- PV market growth
- Flanders region of Belgium
- Governmental support instruments
- Green certificates
- Societal costs