In the wake of the recent crisis, the global economy has taken a hit, and businesses of all sizes have felt the strain. A significant challenge has been the steep rise in energy costs. According to a study by the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB) involving 126,000 companies, a staggering 80% of businesses have seen their energy bills more than double compared to early 2022. This has been a hard pill to swallow, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while larger, energy-intensive companies have been somewhat more resilient. Amidst these challenges, solar energy has emerged as a beacon of hope, offering not just a viable solution but also a catalyst for positive economic change.
The crisis has led to a sharp increase in energy costs, with businesses witnessing their energy bills more than double, as revealed by the FEB study. This has placed a significant financial burden on companies, especially SMEs. Concurrently, the electricity market has been undergoing a period of significant transformation. One of the most promising developments is the opportunity to secure a fixed price for the green energy you produce yourself, thanks to solar panels. This can shield your business from price volatility for at least 25 years.
The surge in energy costs has sent shockwaves through the economy. For many businesses, it has meant scaling back on other investments, reducing staff, or even closing their doors. This has had a domino effect on the broader economy, leading to job losses and a slowdown in economic activity. However, solar energy can offer a lifeline, providing a way to mitigate these challenges and stimulate economic growth.
Solar energy is more than just a viable solution; it's an economically attractive one. By investing in solar energy, businesses can secure a fixed price for the green energy they produce themselves. This not only significantly reduces their energy costs but also protects them from future price hikes for at least 25 years. Moreover, solar energy can provide a level of energy independence, freeing businesses from the volatility of traditional energy markets.
The Flemish government has mandated that by 2025, large electricity consumers and public organizations in Flanders must install solar panels. This regulation, while accelerating the solar energy market, also presents challenges due to increased demand and limited resources. Companies are advised to start planning and permitting processes early, choose reliable EPC-contractors, and collaborate with grid operators to meet the deadline and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Let's take a look at a concrete example in Flanders. A business installs a 180kWp solar panel system on a 2200m² roof. The installation costs €133,600 and is expected to produce 3851 MWh over 25 years. The business is able to consume 62% of the energy produced by the system itself, leading to a reduction of 194 tons of CO2 emissions over 25 years. Moreover, the business secures a fixed price of €53/MWh for the energy produced over 25 years. This example clearly illustrates the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy.
In conclusion, the rising cost of energy presents a significant challenge for businesses, but it also provides an opportunity. By turning to solar energy, businesses can not only reduce their energy costs but also contribute to a more sustainable and equitable economy. Solar energy can provide a much-needed boost to an economy that would otherwise be in difficulties. Moreover, the obligation in Flanders for large electricity consumers and public organizations to install solar panels by 2025 further underscores the importance and urgency of this transition. The example from Flanders clearly illustrates the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy, offering a beacon of hope in these challenging times. As we move forward, solar energy will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in our collective economic recovery and environmental sustainability.