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).