It's now possible to generate your own energy with a whole neighbourhood or community! A system that encourages local, environmentally-friendly generation and offers stable, low tariffs.

Energy sharing in a community

If you generate a lot of renewable energy, it may be interesting to share this energy with several neighbours in your are.  

When energy is shared between at least one producer and more than one participating consumer, this is known as an energy community. You don't all have to be in the same building, a different sharing system applies in that case.

There is an energy community as soon as the 2 criteria below are met.

  • Number of participants: there must be more than 2 customers (otherwise you are in a peer-to-peer situation).
  • Territorial scope: you are located in the Brussels-Capital Region.

There may be several producers and consumers taking part in an energy community. Furthermore, there are no restrictions on where the various participants are located, as long as they are in the Brussels-Capital Region..

3 types of energy communities possible

There are three types of energy communities. Details on the differences can be found at the bottom of this page.

1. Citizen Energy Community (CEC)

The specific feature of this community is that it can also include electricity produced from cogeneration using natural gas.  

However, the owner of the cogeneration plant must be part of the community itself. Plants owned by a third-party investor are therefore excluded.

Example: a group of citizens and companies decide to invest together in photovoltaic panels and cogeneration. To do this, they set up a legal entity (e.g. a non-profit association) to form an energy community and allow all participants to benefit from this locally produced energy. 

2. Renewable Energy Community (REC)

Unlike a CEC, in this case the electricity produced must come from renewable sources. Cogeneration using natural gas is therefore excluded.

As with a CEC, the community must own the production plant used in the energy sharing.

Example: a local school and several houses in the street have photovoltaic panels. They can create a community (for example, in the form of a non-profit association) with neighbours in the area, so that everyone can benefit from this locally-produced energy.

3. Local Energy Community (LEC)

The specific feature of this type of community is that the owner of the generation facilities can be either a member of the energy-sharing community or a third-party investor.

Example: several large apartment buildings on a block have had photovoltaic panels installed by a third-party investor. Elsewhere, a local supermarket has its own photovoltaic panels. Together, they decide to allow their neighbours to use the energy too. They therefore set up a local energy community by forming a legal entity. In this way, they can share the surplus generation from their own facilities with their neighbours, and eventually benefit themselves from injections from other producers active in the community.

Who are the participants?

  • The energy producer(s).
  • The consumers of this energy.
  • The legal entity organising the energy sharing.
  • Sibelga for the management of shared consumption.
  • Brugel for the approval of the community.

At what price can the energy be shared? 

You set the price of the electricity you share. This price is fixed in an agreement between the participants.

You can even share the electricity for free if you want to. Please note, network charges still apply.

Would it be interesting for me? 

First, make sure you consume as much as possible of your photovoltaic panels' output directly. It is always better to consume the energy you produce yourself.  

Next, make sure that the consumers of your surplus energy are using it at the same time as you inject. Sharing will be less beneficial if all the participants have the same profile of consumption hours.

The Brussels Environment Facilitator will provide tools to help you with all your considerations and procedures.

Basic conditions

There are a few basic principles that apply to all 3 types of community.

  • Every participating customer must have a smart meter or networked meter, or have one installed.
  • The community communicates with Sibelga via one of its members, the Single Point of Contact (SPOC), and must notify Sibelga.
  • An agreement is signed between the community and the participants to regulate the sharing arrangements.
  • The terms and conditions with regard to Sibelga are set out in the technical regulations.
  • The community must be approved by Brugel before you start. This authorisation is valid for 10 years and is renewable.

Specific conditions 

Certain conditions may differ depending on the type of community.

  Citizen Energy Community (CEC) Renewable Energy Community (REC) Local Energy Community (LEC)
Electricity only from renewable sources? (1) No
(Cogeneration is also authorised)
Yes Yes
Do you have to set up a legal entity? (2) Yes Yes Yes
Restrictions on participants? (3) No Yes
(There is a restriction for certain companies.)
(There is a restriction for certain companies.)
Effective control (4) Multiple possibilities Only by members Only by members
Other activities allowed? (5) Yes Yes Yes, mais restreintes
Ownership of the production unit (6) The community The community The community or one (or more) of its members, or the holder of the right to use it.

(1) For a CEC, self-generated electricity does not necessarily have to come from a renewable source. Cogeneration using natural gas is therefore authorised.

(2) For all 3 types of community, it is necessary to set up an autonomous legal entity to organise the energy sharing.

(3)  In the case of a REC or LEC, there are restrictions on participating companies.
- They cannot use it as their main business or professional activity.
- Large companies are not permitted.

(4) In the case of a REC or LEC, effective control is exercised by members who are close to the projects developed by the community. In the case of a CEC, effective control is exercised by natural persons, regional or local authorities, and small companies for which the energy sector is not the main area of economic activity.

(5) The various communities can all engage in activities other than energy sharing: 
- generating electricity;
- consuming it;
- or storing it.

With the exception of the Local Energy Community (LEC), they can also:
- participate in aggregation services;
- provide flexibility services;
- provide energy services;
- or recharging services for electric vehicles.

(6) In the case of a CEC or REC, the community must own the production facility(ies) (the units of third-party investors are therefore excluded). In the case of LECs, on the other hand, the community or one (or more) of its members is the owner of the production unit or the holder of the right to use it.

Find out more

Don't hesitate to consult the  webpages of the regulator Brugel on energy communities.