Clean Power

Published on April 17th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


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

April 17th, 2013 by  

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 tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • 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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