20 April 2015


Solar energy critical to achieving Dutch climate goals

Author: Solarplaza



Steady growth solar energy

‘Last year the sales of the Dutch solar market crossed the €2,4 billion. Considering its yearly sales and volume, the solar sector can be hardly ignored by politicians, policy makers or other stakeholders. After all, stable political climate is vital for the sector’s continuous growth in the coming decade’, says Peter Segaar, a market analyst who shares his views on the blog


Bigger solar projects

Segaar predicts that the number of larger solar projects will increase in 2015 - in absolute and relative terms. ‘More and more companies opt for solar energy in order to become energy self-sufficient’, he states. After all, ‘current policies provide a favourable climate for investment in solar. Entrepreneurs and companies can claim SDE + subsidy or tax benefits from the Energy Investment Allowance scheme (EIA)’.

Dennis Gieselaar, managing director at Oskomera Solar Power Solutions, says that SDE and net metering offer a tremendous opportunity to invest in a solar power plant. ‘These policies allow companies to contribute considerably to the sustainable energy supply while providing them with a financial incentive to invest in solar energy. Judging by the number of SDE grants, large power plants on rooftops and open fields are the decisive trend in 2015’ , says Gieselaar.


Robust networks and finance

Recently, the Dutch government announced that in the coming years more than 2.100 solar projects are expected to be realised with a SDE subsidy. The cumulative solar power of these projects is estimated to more than 550 MWp.

However, ‘It’s vital that network operators provide more clarity on the local technical frameworks in which larger PV power projects can be realized. The clearer this becomes, the easier it will be to estimate technical potential’ , thinks Gieselaar.
Furthermore, Segaar questions whether developers of these larger SDE projects secure their funding in time.


Dutch climate goals

Similarly, Wim Sinke, Program Development Manager of Solar Energy at ECN (Energy Research Center of the Netherlands) and professor at the University of Amsterdam, anticipates a growing demand for solar energy: 'Solar energy is and will remain a major supplier of Dutch electricity to 2020 and beyond, and as such will play an essential role in accomplishing the Energy Agreement objectives’.

Investment security

To achieve stable growth in the solar market, it is necessary that we preserve the current incentive schemes. 'Investment security is crucial for the long term prosperity of the solar market’ , says Sinke. ‘Politicians and policy makers should therefore provide the public with clarity about the future of net metering and the SDE subsidy. For those who already have an installation, net metering should be secured until 2030. For new entrants conditions can be gradually adapted to the prices of that time. Thus, the incentive remains socially acceptable.’

Fastest growing energy source

‘Solar energy is the fastest growing branch within the renewable energy sector’ , notes Peter Desmet, director of wholesaler Solarclarity and chairman of interest group ZON. ‘I see a growing interest in solar energy among different parties. Even though we expect the residential market to remain in the driver’s seat, a spike in larger business projects will foreseeably bring a dramatic growth in the solar market of 2015’ , he adds.

Next to that, ‘There is an increasing interest in solar energy from companies and organizations. After all, investments in solar have a very reasonable payback and a better return on investment than that of your bank savings. In other words, if you have money to spare, solar energy is certainly a better investment’.

Key figures Dutch market (2014)

- Number of solar power installations: +/- 270.000 (residential and business).
- Installed solar capacity: over 1.1 Gigawatt-peak (equivalent to two major coal plants).
- Gross sales: more than 2.4 billion euros, of which 1.6 billion euros in the Netherlands.
- In 2013, total gross sales was 1.8 billion euros. The sales growth in 2014 was 33 percent compared to 2013.
- Total value of solar panel imports: 1.4 billion euros, of which about 600 million euros is intended for the Dutch market. The Netherlands are, after Japan and the US, the biggest importer of Chinese solar panels.
- Number of Dutch solar companies: 1,400 (wholesalers, suppliers, vendors, installers, consultants).
- Number of full time employees (FTE): more than 9.000.



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