Solar electricity not very popular in the Netherlands

15/05/2008 15:00

Since the subsidy on solar electricity systems was abolished in 2003, sales of solar electricity systems on the Dutch market have plummeted. Last year, few new systems were added. Nevertheless, Dutch manufacturers of solar electricity systems achieved good results in 2007, mainly on account of rising exports.

Recently built solar electricity systems in the Netherlands

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Solar electricity heavily depends on subsidies

In 2003, the prevailing subsidy scheme for solar electricity systems was abolished due to soaring expenses. Since then, approximately 1.5 megawatts (MW) were annually sold in the Netherlands. The total capacity by the end of 2007 was 55 MW. On 1 April 2008, a new subsidy scheme for solar electricity systems was introduced in the Netherlands. This scheme allows for approximately 10 MW of subsidised solar electricity in 2008.

Germany takes up prominent position in Europe

With 3,800 MW, Germany is by far the largest generator of solar electricity, but with 55 MW, the Netherlands also takes up a position in Europe’s top 5, although its position is very modest relative to Germany.

The per capita capacity of solar electricity is 47 watt in Germany, as against 3 watt in the Netherlands. Germany’s strong position regarding solar electricity is chiefly due to high subsidies.

Solar electricity systems in Europe, 2007

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Contribution to total electricity consumption still marginal 

With 0.03 percent in 2007, the contribution of solar electricity to total electricity consumption was still marginal in the Netherlands. In Germany, it was about 0.5 percent.

Substantial increase in trade and production of solar electricity systems

Despite small sales on the domestic market, turnover and employment related to the trade in and production of solar electricity systems in the Netherlands again increased in 2007. Turnover increased by 50 percent to 247 million euro. Employment increased by 70 percent to nearly 400 labour years. These growth figures are the result of increased imports and exports of solar panels and solar panel components.

Production of solar electricity systems

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Marco Wilmer