Sales of solar-powered boilers take a noisedrive

The number of solar-power boilers sold to customers in our region has fallen considerably in recent years. Last year just 3,800 solar-powered boilers were installed in Flemish homes. This is more than 16,000 fewer than was the case in 2013 when almost 20,000 such boilers were installed. Those in the industry says that the dramatic fall in interest for the eco-friendly boilers has come about as a result of a lack of promotion of solar-powered boilers by the Flemish regional authorities.   

Solar-powered boilers use energy from the sun that can be used to heat water for washing or cleaning or provide warm water for under-floor heating systems. As they are solar powered the boilers don’t cause any CO2 to be emitted and as such are environmentally-friendly. Nevertheless, according to figures from the Flemish energy agency, fewer and fewer Fleming are having solar-powered boilers installed in their homes.    

The fall in the number of solar-powered boilers being installed started when the Flemish Government adapted the system of grants payable to those having a solar-powered boiler installed in their home. Up until 2013 the grant could be as much as 4,125 euro. However, since then the maximum grant has been 2,750 euro.  

However, the Solar-Powered Boiler Installers’ Federation doesn’t believe that the reduction in the level of the grant is the reason for the fall in the number of solar-powered boilers being sold. 

Lack of promotion

Belsolar’s Wim Persoons told VRT News that “You can still get 40% of the purchase price refunded. It is true that the maximum figure is lower, but what you also should know is that these days you can have a solar-powered boiler installed for between 4,000 and 5,000 euro. It was different before. Then boilers were much more expensive”.      

Mr Persoons believes that the real reason behind the reduced interest in solar-powered boilers among Flemings is due to a lack of promotion by the authorities.  

"A couple of years ago sales of solar panels took a drive. Bart Tommelein (the former Flemish Energy Minister) started talking a lot about solar panels and sales started to go up again. Nothing has been said about solar-powered boilers. People don’t know they exist. It is time that government did something to change this”.