According to experts, the growth in market share of solar energy could amount to much more than the 4000 MW that the companies and organizations united under the Dutch National Solar Energy Action Committee predicted for 2020. This projection was based on an annual growth of 25 per cent. Last year alone, the growth of the number of solar installations in the Netherlands amounted to more than 200 per cent. If annual growth turns out to be more like 50 percent than 25, the Netherlands will have reached a milestone of 1.5 million installed solar energy systems within five years, compared to the 100,000 that are already operational.
|“This is nothing short of a revolution"
With solar photovoltaic (PV) panels becoming increasingly cheaper and energy prices continuing to rise, solar energy generated on private roofs is now cheaper than energy tapped from the grid. Furthermore, investing in a solar system can generate interest rates three times as high as those of a regular savings account. This will only contribute to the apparent growth. It’s likely that in three years’ time there will already be more than 440,000 PV systems in the country, covering 1 per cent of the national electricity consumption.
In 2020, an annual production of 4,000 megawatts of solar energy could cover 3 percent of the national consumption. But if the growth of solar energy turns out to be closer to 40 percent – which is very likely – this contribution will be close to 6 percent. On sunny days, this could mean that coal and gas plants will have to be shut down. In Germany last year, a sunny month of May resulted in 50 percent the electricity demand being provided by solar panels, while the annual share amounted to 5 percent.
| "Energy utilities need to find new business models and really face the challenges head-on"