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Published on April 17th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Low-Income Households Get Quicker Solar Return On Investment In Belgium

Need some pick-me-up news? OK, I guess we have a lot of that. But if you could use some more, check out this story below (reposted from Solar Love):

Something you hear over and over again is that solar power is primarily for the wealthy. While it is actually increasingly for the middle class, thanks to falling solar power costs, there’s no avoiding the fact that it is substantially harder for low-income families to go solar. However, a region of Belgium has decided to change that.

Wallonia, “the predominantly French-speaking southern region of Belgium” (according to our friend Wikipedia), has set up a solar support mechanism (called Qualiwatt) that provides a higher/faster return on investment (ROI) for low-income households than for middle- or high-income households… not that the middle- or high-income households get a poor ROI. (H/t Renewables International for the find.)


As you can see in the table above (from the Wallonia government website), “low-income” households get a return on their investment in just 7 years (7% rate of return), while “middle or lower income” households get a return in 8 years (5% rate of return) and “higher income” households get a return in 9 years (4% rate of return).

It’s nice to see a government make going solar more attractive for low- and middle-income households (first I’ve heard of such a system), but I’m a bit surprised the ROI for all three income categories isn’t a bit better by now. Not that it’s bad, but I imagine the situation is already much better in neighboring Germany.

For a more detailed look at the Wallonia governmental policy, check out this webpage (you’ll need to translate it from French if you don’t speak French).

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

  • st

    what if, after tax credits and periodic incentives, your actual return on investment is accomplished in 60+ years

  • UKGary

    This still looks pretty good to me, as people such as pensioners on low incomes but with some savings can secure 7% per annum compound interest on their money over 20 years – with their initial outlay returned in full in 7 years. Try getting that from a bank account!

    For those without sufficient savings, a loan should be relatively easy to obtain at a competitive rate provided the person has a good credit history and the guaranteed return the customer will receive.

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