Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
Utility companies in Belgium and Switzerland are partnering with solar panel manufacturers Sungevity and Ikea to offer their customers one stop shopping for rooftop solar systems.

Rooftop Solar

European Utilities Partner With Sungevity, Ikea To Market Solar Systems

Utility companies in Belgium and Switzerland are partnering with solar panel manufacturers Sungevity and Ikea to offer their customers one stop shopping for rooftop solar systems.

Originally published on Solar Love.

Two European utility companies have decided the best way forward for them is to stop fighting the advent of solar power and get on board. Both have inked new partnership deals with solar panel producers to create one stop shopping opportunities for their customers. This approach has been much in the news lately, after Elon Musk, head of Tesla Motors and SolarCity, announced the two companies would combine to offer customers complete solar systems with one click-of-the-mouse convenience.

Solar Panels

Many European nations have substantially reduced the incentives offered for new solar systems, leading to a dramatic slowdown in the number of systems being installed. For instance, the number of new installations in the Belgian solar market fell to less than 10,000 in 2014. In calendar year 2011, when incentives were at their highest, more than 100,000 systems were installed.

The new initiatives in Europe are spurred by the realization that solar panels are now so inexpensive, they can be installed profitably even without financial incentives. As an example, a system that cost €20,000 a few years ago can now be installed for €6,000.

Electrabel, a subsidiary of French utility company Engie, does business in Belgium. It will partner with Sungevity, the fifth largest solar panel manufacturer in the United States. Belgium is still culturally separated into two regions with distinct regulations. In Wallonia, situated in the southern part of the country, new solar systems could cut power bills by up to 1,200 euros per year and earn a return on investment of up to 17%. In the northern Flemish region, where rooftop solar owners pay a 300 euro per year grid fee and get no subsidies, customers could cut bills by 500 euros and earn a return on investment of up to 11%.

“The utilities have a strong customer base; the solar companies have the technical competencies. We expect these types of combinations will develop,” says Alexandre Roesch, head of Brussels-based industry lobby SolarPower Europe.

Swiss utility Alpiq says its Helion Solar division, which has 10% of the rooftop solar market in the country, is forming a partnership with Ikea to install solar panels manufactured and sold by the Swedish company. It did not release financial projections for the venture.

Not all, but many US utility companies are kicking and screaming about the coming solar power revolution. They like the way things used to be — coal comes in, steam is made, turbines make electricity, and everybody earns a nice, safe, government guaranteed rate of return. Solar has kicked over the apple cart and a lot of companies don’t like it one little bit.

But as the Rocky Mountain Institute pointed out in a 2015 study, utilities have a golden opportunity to re-imagine themselves as providers of many services people want. That’s because their wires permeate every residence and business. Wires can carry things other than electrons — internet services, for example.

Utilities could become a vital part of the Internet of Things revolution, says RMI, earning extra profits by providing much need ancillary services. All they need do is pull their heads out of the sand, see what’s going on in the world, and figure out how to adapt to the new norm. Utilities in Europe are doing it. American utility companies could stop acting like petulant children who have had their candy taken away and start acting like responsible adults. Just a thought.

Source and photo credit: American Energy News

A tip of the hat to Geert Ramaut, a faithful CleanTechnica reader who lives in Belgium.

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 

Advertisement
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

Comments

You May Also Like

Clean Transport

The top 15 U.S. retailers were responsible for as much climate pollution in 2019, from their shipping alone, as the energy used to power...

Cars

Have you ever wandered through one of IKEA’s massive stores and thought about what it would be like to buy a car there? You...

Cars

Originally published on Transport & Environment. By Eoin Bannon EU lawmakers should set an end date for selling new combustion engine cars in Europe no later...

Clean Transport

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), the City of Santa Monica, and partners have enthusiastically launched the first zero-emissions delivery zone in the USA.

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.