The Dutch PV market pioneered the solar industry in Europe, despite having been surpassed by other European markets in the last few years, such as Germany and Sweden, who were eager to gain a foothold in the rapidly expanding solar PV industry. While the Dutch market has by no means slowed down on the number of installations occurring per year, in fact 2014 finally broke the 1 GW installed capacity threshold, Germany on the other hand, has long since secured the position as the world’s leading PV market with a notable 38 GW overall installed capacity in January 2015. However, as experts Peter Segaar, Market Researcher for Polder PV and Professor Wim Sinke, Program Development Manager Solar Energy with ECN discussed during Solarplaza’s webinar on March 18 (access webinar recordings here), the Dutch market is making immense strides and has no intentions of slowing down.

There are four reasons, according to experts Mr. Segaar and Prof. Sinke, why the Dutch solar PV market is going to grow exponentially moving forward. The first has to do with the SDE + incentives (Stimulering Duurzame Energieproductie), which are operating grants that provide producers with a subsidy for the clean energy they generate. These incentives are leading to multiple larger-scale projects coming down the pipeline as there is over 1 billion euros potentially available for renewable energy, where PV has the ability to take up a large portion of funding.

The second contention is due to the continuation of the current beneficial net metering scheme for residential customers. According to Mr. Segaar, “About 70% of PV installations in The Netherlands in 2014 were residential with an average size of 3kWp, and were funded 100% by the net metering scheme presently in place. Residential net metering allows the electricity meter to run backwards during daylight hours, though it does need to balance itself out during the year, making the scheme of an annual balance nature. With this scheme in place, residential PV users have a huge cost-saving advantage, making solar even more appealing to the masses."

However, in order for solar to be available to the masses, it must be affordable, which leads to the third argument as to why the Dutch solar market is going to experience exponential growth moving forward. The price of solar PV modules worldwide has been dropping, and is no different in The Netherlands. Grid parity has already been reached for residential plants and is imminent for the rest of PV users in the country.

Both Segaar and Sinke agree that while the market is picking up momentum, the real breakthrough is going to occur from 2020 and beyond. “What is important now is to lay the solid foundation for solar by getting actively involved with the PV market at present. All of the work and effort that takes place between now and 2020 will set us up for ultimate success later on,” emphasizes Mr. Segaar.

In addition to the growing number of solar PV companies in The Netherlands, the fourth and final reason the Dutch market is expected to grow exponentially is due to the amount of projects increasing in size, and the involvement of bigger, leading companies in the industry, as well as financiers and banks. From design companies with the innovation and creativity to install solar on more than just roofs, to global leaders in development, operations and maintenance, and investing, the Dutch market is open for business and many leading companies are looking to penetrate the Dutch solar industry, in turn bringing PV to the next level.

While residential solar has been wildly popular among the Dutch population, commercial scale solar and even solar parks, such as the recently announced solar park under construction in Emmen that is expected to produce 11 MW of energy annually, and the recently financed 6 MWp in Ameland due to start construction this year, have been cropping up more frequently. The trend is likely to continue at a high pace, making it more interesting for larger companies and other stakeholders to invest. As the solar business becomes more mature, so does the Dutch market.

Mr. Segaar and Professor Sinke will be speaking at Solarplaza’s seventh edition of The Solar Future NL in Rotterdam on May 27, 2015. Both experts will discuss in-depth their goals for the Dutch PV market, and the overall theme of the conference, which is “bringing solar to the masses”. The Solar Future will provide a comprehensive overview of the latest trends in the solar market, visionary insights, and will be a unique opportunity to network with local and international industry experts.

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